In This Store, Everything Is 100% Off

The New York Times is reporting that for six weeks, a group of people have been engaged in an unusual project in Bedford-Stuyvesant that they are calling the Brooklyn Free Store, where everything is available for the taking and nothing is for sale.

The name of the store is painted on a purple banner hanging from a chain link fence fronting a bare dirt lot on Walworth Street, near De Kalb Avenue. Behind the fence a blue plastic tarp is stretched over a white tent, covering an array of items stacked atop sheets of weathered plywood.

A handwritten sign reads “Take what you want. Share what you think others may enjoy (not limited to material items).”

There were cans of green beans and a pair of used brown wingtips beneath the tarp on Saturday, along with a used toaster oven, a flashlight and a galvanized metal bucket.

And there were dozens of items of clothing, including a brown fur coat and matching hat.

Organizers of the store said it was intended to demonstrate the feasibility of recycling and to offer an alternative to mainstream capitalism. It has no owners or customers, only participants, say the people who started it. Because everything there is free, the store has no official hours and it is never locked.

“New York is world renowned for having the best garbage,” said Myles Emery, 34, an organizer of the store. “There could be free stores everywhere.”

Most of the items in the store are donated and a few of them are gleaned from a wealth of serviceable objects that are discarded on the streets each day. The number and nature of the items beneath the tarp vary, organizers said, adding that people have dropped off a digital camera, an electric stove and a TiVo with a recording capacity of 40 hours.

Photo by The New York Times.

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