*All photos by Scott Lynch
The MASC Hospitality Group knows how to throw a party. Their jam-packed monthly affairs — in Harlem at the Uptown Night Market, and at Fordham Plaza at the Bronx Night Market — have really hit a groove this summer, combining live music and DJs, tons of great food from vendors you don’t see everywhere else, and unique apparel, accessories, and wellness products from local designers and artisans.
And now, this week, Brooklyn Night Market has landed in Industry City, where it will become a monthly event.
“We’re in Brooklyn now!” Marco Shalma, the founder of MASC Hospitality, told Brooklyn Magazine at Monday’s opening night festivities. “We kept getting asked by Brooklyn folks ‘when are you going to come to Brooklyn?’ but to cross the river we needed a special partner like Industry City. They were so receptive to, and they really love, what we do with the community, and the way that we do business, so that was a match made in heaven.”
At least 70 percent of the vendors at any MASC Night Market are minority-, female-, and/or immigrant-owned businesses, and even veteran food-festival goers will find plenty of dishes at the Industry City iteration that are worth getting excited about.
Start with a platter of Rach Sabron’s fatty, juicy, crackling lechon at her Filipino-food tent, Patok by Rach, which she serves over a bocce-ball sized orb of deep-fried rice. Sabron also makes a good-looking sisig (yes, with pig jowl), and, if you’re in snacking mode, a pile of porky (or vegetable-y) limpia.
Other instant winners here on Monday night included Amy Hernandez and Alonso Guzman’s Jackson Heights import Mariscos El Submarino, rightly famous for its generously portioned aguachile, a Sinaloan specialty uncommon in New York City, that’s like ceviche, but livelier; and Saundra Crews’s fiery, Barbados-style fishcakes at her beachy Sassy’s Fishcakes tent.
The sleeper hit of the night, however, was a pair of odd-looking tacos, one stuffed with well-sauced shrimp, the other with chicken, from Crown Heights native Amaika Quamina at her Specialty Tacos booth. What sets these beauties apart is the shell, which looks more matzah than tortilla but is actually akin to an extremely al-dente, eggless pasta. And the fillings are West Indian in character rather than Mexican. Sounds weird, works great.
There are tons of other food options, from personal favorites like Janae Bullock’s Fried Lasagna Mama (get the “original” one, deep fried and gooey with three cheeses) and the massive plates of jerk chicken with rice and peas from both Treat Yourself and Taste of Jamaica, to such crowd-pleasers as the Korean rice dogs from Oh K-Dog and the heavily-seasoned spiraled spuds at Twisted Potato.
Sweet treats are in ample supply as well, though I only had room left for two desserts on opening night: a deeply rich cheesecake-and-cinnamon-toast-crunch creation, served, conveniently, in a jar, at Takia Brown of Queens’ spot, Oh Sweet Mason; and cookies at the Sofia and Grace booth, Shalanda Vasquez’s offshoot of the Bed-Stuy bakery named after her six-year-old twins.
Eating is the main attraction at Brooklyn Night Market (followed closely by people-watching), but there are very worthy non-food vendors as well. Sherifa Gayle’s black N ugly booth stars her boldly graphic hoodies and t-shirts, and Monie Marshall, whose dream of opening a gym in her Harlem neighborhood was delayed by the pandemic, has a slick line of workout wear for women at the Monie Fit tent.
At the night market, bands and DJs play, people dance, drinks are enjoyed, the twinkly lights come on as the sun goes down. “I’m a Bronx kid,” said Shalma, “but a less-known fact about me is, when I landed here back in the day, the first place that I lived was in Brooklyn. This was my stomping ground in the early ‘Marco Shalma in the United States’ story. So it’s a nice feeling to come back over here.”
All photos by Scott Lynch
*This is an article from Brooklyn Magazine published on June 28 2022; See the original article here.