My buddy Serge pointed me to this article in yesterday's New York Times:

April Gariepy, 30, wheeled her bike beneath the white tent on Saturday afternoon looking for a wire basket she could attach to her handlebars. A moment later, Sharika Barrow, 17, approached, gazed at the shelves of books, clothing and other items displayed beneath the tent, then wondered aloud what sort of place she was visiting.

Myles Emery, one of the founders of the Free Store. Organizers say that it offers an alternative to mainstream capitalism.

“It’s a free store,” Ms. Gariepy replied, having made that determination herself just a few moments earlier.

After browsing, the two emerged from beneath the tent without selecting anything but both said they would probably return.

“I just came from the Brooklyn Flea,” Ms. Gariepy, said. “This is kind of like the same thing, but everything at the flea is higher priced.”

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).”

…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.”

Yes, indeed! And we at are here to help you bring a free store to your community! Mira Luna's "How to Start a Really Really Free Market" is one of our most popular DIY pieces, and I hope you'll check it out. You might also see "How to Start Your Own Skillshare," "How to Throw a Community Swap Meet," and "The Fixers' Collective."

Jeremy Adam Smith


Jeremy Adam Smith

Jeremy Adam Smith is the editor who helped launch He's the author of The Daddy Shift (Beacon Press, June 2009); co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct (W.W. Norton

Things I share: Mainly babysitting with other parents! I also share all the transportation I can, through bikes and buses and trains and carpooling.