By Joseph Mendolia
BU News Service
Where can you skateboard, do yoga, buy a Miles Davis record, read 1950’s erotica and learn to fix your bike all in one place? Walk down Brighton Avenue and stop on Linden Street just before Spike’s Junkyard Dogs. Next to the Avis/Budget car and truck rental you’ll find the answer: Pop-Allston.
At more than 15,000 square feet and only a few months old, Pop-Allston occupies a large spot as the new kid on the block in the mostly college neighborhood. The pop-up community space provides a year-long home to an assortment of activities and vendors.
From now until May, visitors can practice yoga at the Yoga Hub, learn bike maintenance during the BU Commonwheels Bike Co-Op, skateboard in the Conservatory Skatepark, or purchase vintage clothing, antiques, and a variety of quirky knick-knacks at the Oliver Best Market.
Saturday was Oliver Best Market’s first day at Pop-Allston.
“Don’t sleep on the basement! There’s a lot of cool stuff down there!” said Justin E. Pomerleau to people passing through Pop-Allston’s open doors. Pomerleau is the market’s founder.
The Oliver Best Market occupies the basement and first floor of Pop-Allston every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It features local vendors selling products like handcrafted soap, antique books, vintage clothing and classic records. Prices around the market can vary from a couple of dollars to a few hundred.
Next to the DJ, in the back of the first floor, Dale Ann Smith sells classic erotica and occult books at her pop-up station. Better known by her penname Adler Smith, she considers Pop-Allston to be the best pop-up market she’s been to.
“I’ve done all the biggest markets in New York and the stuff I see here is amazing. There’s some of the best picking in the country here. New England has such a historic art community with real, authentic antiques,” Smith said.
Grab a drink at the cash bar and take the stairs to see Pop-Allston’s indoor skatepark, which opened September 21. The skatepark is free and open to the public, and it’s managed, maintained and designed by local Allston business Orchard Skate Shop. Pop-Allston guests can skate from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, and skate lessons are offered throughout the week.
More mellow types can enjoy Reggae Yoga Flow and Glow Yoga at Pop-Allston’s Yoga Hub. And those who prefer getting around on two wheels can learn some tips and tricks from the Commonwheels Bicycle Co-Op, a volunteer-based nonprofit collective.
But since the space is a pop-up, the activities and vendors at Pop-Allston will only be stationed in the space for a limited time.
“Pop-Allston has an expiration date. We need people to make the trip out now. We need public support and donations whether it’s by using the skatepark, doing yoga or buying vintage tees,” Pomerleau said.
For now, Pop-Allston will continue to represent the unification of the Allston community under one roof. By catering to a wide range of the public, the communal building hopes to help revamp the neighborhood.
“You know, Allston used to be called Allston Rock City,” said Smith. “I think what Justin and Pop-Allston are doing could really help it get back to that.”
If You Go…
• Pop-Allston is located at 89 Brighton Avenue in Allston
• Check the calendar on www.popallston.com for the event and activity times
• Skaters under 18 need a parent/guardian to sign a waiver in person, at Orchard Skate Shop, or can print the waiver and have it signed and stamped by a Notary of the Public
• Bring cash for the cash bar and quarters for the arcade machines