Un-conventional attractions: What we think the new venue should host

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Barclays Center may be nominated to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, but up until this year, Brooklyn has not been much of a contender for landing big shindigs. Nearly all the major industry gatherings that come to New York set up shop at Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javits Center, and while it may not be big enough to host the next New York International Auto Show, the just-opened Brooklyn Expo Center can comfortably accommodate 4,000 visitors in a weekend, a spokeswoman said. Now that the dust has settled on the Expo Center’s first to-do, owner and controversial developer Joshua Guttman is looking for more bookings. Currently on tap for the coming months are chef, record, and baby-product conventions.

We figured we would lend a hand and suggest more events we think would be perfect for the Greenpoint space.

Circus freaks

Sure there is a veritable circus freak convention in Coney Island nearly every day. But there is only so much space at the Circus Sideshow. The open floor plan and high ceilings of the Brooklyn Expo Center, on the other hand, are spacious enough to accommodate trapeze acts, fire spinners, and dozens, nay hundreds of unicycles.

So-called “artisanal” products

Anything that can be made in a kitchen, workshop, or small factory is being made right here in Brooklyn. And if the product has unconventional graphic design and an eyebrow-raising price tag, that’s how you know it is what marketers call “artisanal.” The small-scale manufacturing trend is so prevalent that the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has created its own “Brooklyn Made” certification system and we’ve come up with our own list of official borough products. The writing is on the label in script: it’s time to get the thing-makers in a room together. And we mean a room bigger than Brooklyn Flea’s indoor venues.


There are so many varieties of burlesque night in the borough on an average week that it can make your head spin. There is classy burlesque, nasty burlesque, post-modern burlesque, and boy-lesque, to name a few. Now, typically in the performative disrobing business, less is more, but when it comes to putting a bunch of saucy guys and gals together in a room, we have a feeling the resulting synergy would be top drawer.

Fantastical facial hair

This convention happens every day on the L train, and its athletic counterpart takes place annually at the Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition. Add some wine and cheese and space for handmade aftershave vendors and spectators, and watch the magic happen.

Old-timey music

This would include elements of nearly all of the above, as purveyors of old-timey music tend to be heavy users of mustache wax, or have girlfriends or boyfriends who are circus performers, burlesque dancers, household canners, or some combination thereof. Finally, a place big enough for a real-deal hootenanny!

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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