There is only one place to go this time of year for the best cast-off treasures in New York City. An admitted Flea-aholic, I showed up camera at the ready alongside thousands of others seeking to bid, bargain, and buy this past windy Saturday. After all, it was opening day of the 3rd annual Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene.
Early bird shoppers strolled through the school ground gates at Bishop Loughlin Memorial, claiming Carter’s turn of the century antique furniture pieces, picking the best re-hab bikes by Shane da BikeJack—“I have bikes dating back to the 1800’s and as recent as the 00’s. My specialty is conversions; I rehab bikes and “puffy-ize” them with alloy wheels, gears, you name it.”—trying a bit of old and new of Melody’s colorful earring designs, rummaging thru record bins, and pecking on Brandi & Kowalski’s vintage writing machines. “I’ve collected typewriters for years. I have six myself in my room,” said Brandi. “There’s nostalgia back to our grandparents with these machines. People like the sound— it’s resonating and rhythmic. There is a story behind its ding.”
By noon, a hungry Flea crowd stood in increasing longer food lines well worth the wait. From Vanderbilt on the East to Clermont on the West, The Red Hook Vendors sold perfectly patted pupusas and grilled corn, Choice Market offered fresh baked goods including their signature red velvet cupcakes, and PizzaMoto made disc shaped dough for their on-site wood burning oven.
A research chemist and an artist are the pair behind Brooklyn SodaWorks’ non-syrup, fresh squeezed carbonated juice—try the grapefruit jalapeño and honey that sold out by 3:00 p.m. Korey of Kors d’oeuvres—a food segment producer by day and dip lover in life—won over the crowd with his seasonal dips and spreads like fan favorites roasted pumpkin and butternut squash. Hundreds copped a seat on the sacred flea stairs to chow on their eats and speak of their finds. “I’m doing this with my husband, we were just married last week,” said Val of Kings Country Salvage. “We do a lot of farm salvage and barn cleanouts. Everything we have here has a use and is really affordable for the home.”
By late afternoon the market swarmed with end-of-day bargainers leaving full-bellied and hands full. Thankfully, this outdoor gem has a long season ahead. Happy future Flea-ing.