Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From Bathhouse to Marketplace

Brooklyn Lyceum

Flea markets, I'm finding, are one of the best ways to see the old buildings of Brooklyn.

First, I took something of a self-guided tour of the historic Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower when I visited the Brooklyn Flea a few weekends ago.

Last Sunday I got off the subway one stop before the Flea and went to the Brooklyn Lyceum's Spring Food and Craft Market. The vendors were similar -- Etsy-type crafts and lots of delicious food -- but the venues couldn't have been more different.

The bank location is gigantic, with huge ceilings and a large mural on one wall. The architecture was amazing -- it almost looked like a church rather than a former bank.

The lyceum -- formerly Public Bath #7 -- was much more cramped and crowded, but the building was just as interesting.

According to the lyceum's website, the 100-year old building once held the largest indoor pool in the country. The building, now a cafe/theater/gym/building-available-for-rent is a bit shabby in the corners, but with lots of personality -- and a surprising amount of natural light.

I tried a few samples (like a yummy piece of coconut truffle) and wished I had tried a few more (bacon marmalade, anyone?). Other than that, I left empty-handed, but I left intrigued about a block of Brooklyn I had never before given a second glance.

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