In the warmer months, you can find Eddie Bernard selling used and vintage bicycles on a small, paved lot behind a mural-covered fence in Bushwick.
Whether you are an experienced gear-head or a first-time buyer, Bernard’s shop, on the corner of Palmetto Street and Evergreen Avenue, probably has what you need: Bernard’s inventory of well-maintained, affordable bikes ranges from $50-$150; and the spare parts lining the walls of the space are all for sale and negotiable.
Even if you already have a bike and don’t need any parts, it’s still worth a visit to chat with Bernard and check out his collection of award-winning vintage bicycles, which includes a 1953 Red Schwinn Panther.
Bernard has been working on his bicycles in Bushwick for the last seven years. He purchased the spot in 1989 from New York City when it was selling off abandoned lots in Bushwick. At the time, he was working as a delivery truck driver for the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg.
After retirement, Bernard started using the space at Palmetto and Evergreen to refurbish bikes and spare parts to sell to neighborhood residents. He said during the first couple of years, he would sell two or three bikes per day. Business has slowed recently, and now Bernard only sells one bike every couple of weeks. When asked why business has slowed down, Bernard suspected that it was because of the Citi Bike stations found around Brooklyn: people aren’t buying bikes like they used to.
Bernard is operating business as usual for now; but unfortunately, the slow-down has convinced him that it is time to sell the lot and move on to the next chapter in life.
When I asked Bernard whether he’s learned any lessons over the years, he told me that it’s all about the people.
“When you deal with people you [need] to have a lot of patience, because it’s different people that come with a different attitude every day,” Bernard said. “Don’t take [anything] seriously, and try to please everyone the best you can.”
Bernard is a fantastic guy and has a warm heart. Even if you’re not in the market for some new wheels, stop by and say hello Monday-Saturday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Photos by Paul Del Gesso (@pauldelgesso)