This funky market is pumping on Sunday afternoons.
I have a habit of taking things for granted. For nearly two years now, I’ve lived a three minute walk from one of the hippest places to be on a Sunday afternoon, the Brick Lane Market. I go and gawk regularly but never thought to blog about it until now.
I’ve written about Brick Lane itself a couple of times; nestled in East London’s Bangladeshi community, the strip is home to many South Asian restaurants and a certain famous bagel shop that I hold dear to my heart (carbs are even more heavenly in bagel form). But on Sundays many more vendors and hawkers take up residence along the lane and in the big empty warehouses scattered between the ramshackle storefronts. They sell clothing, random wares, and food from too many countries to name.
The area completely changes its face. All of a sudden, throngs of people flood the lane and music from invisible speakers assault your ears. It is awesomeness squared — cubed when the sun blazes strongly like yesterday. London is in the midst of a heat wave and the good weather brought even more good vibes.
This market is not like Notting Hill’s market. It’s not cute or quaint or pretty. It is decidedly rougher, grungier, and seemingly a haven for hipsters and trendsetters, whose interesting handle on fashion makes people-watching a must. The folks who come out are so meticulously and artfully styled it would be criminal not to spectate. I also like it because it is diverse: people of all colours and sizes and nationalities are out and about. For me, *this* perfectly encapsulates London.
People sit on the scuffed, soiled sidewalks eating ethnic foods out of small plastic containers, and on a hot day like yesterday the street smells faintly of sweat and alcohol.
Another big feature of the market is the young creatives who paint graffiti, tout crafts and creations, and make music. Our main reason for heading to the market yesterday was to see my incredibly talented designer friend Chi, who was in London for just three days selling his fashions in the pop-up store he mounted in the Old Truman Brewery.
This is cutting edge London, and perhaps not what you would expect if your knowledge of the city comes from mainstream media. It feels like a place where anything can happen. Case in point: Liebling and I spotted a skilled female beatboxer doing her thing before a captive audience, then minutes later happened upon a hairstylist ardently giving his client a side shave right on the street. Not five minutes after that, one of the restaurant touts on the sidewalk broke out in an impromptu dance when he saw my camera pointed in his general direction. Because that’s just the way folks roll here.
If you’re looking for alternative London, this is it!
Have you ever been to the Brick Lane Market on a Sunday?