Hello and happy Wednesday, everyone!!!!
It’s such a gorgeous temperate day in New York City today, and if it were the weekend, it’d be the PERFECT weather for shopping at a summer FLEA MARKET!!!
A lot of you are passionate thrifters at brick & mortar stores, but when a shining sun & cool summer breeze come along, you venture to the great outdoors for all of your fun finds and vintage/antique hunting.
Whether you’re a “yard sailor” of yard/garage sales or a weekend market maniac, you’v got your summer shopping agenda scheduled to a stylish tee for the unique experience of thrift treasure discovery outside.
While I live in the great urban capital that is New York City, there are surprisingly many a flea market to be found within these city streets. When I first moved here, my love of vintage not only blossomed because of the plethora of vintage boutiques in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn & beyond … but also because the “alternative fashion” options of other cities were more mainstream here.
It’s not quite a surprise to walk into an Upper East Side apartment to find Ikea furniture mixed with an antique dining room table bought at a flea market alongside expensive William Sonoma kitchen appliances! Talk about shabby chic!
While the Big Apple is home to some pretty big flea markets, there’s still a TON to be visited throughout the great country that is the United States. I would love to trace the history of the “fashionable flea market” and how it involved from our buying/selling/trading/bartering practices of yesterday.
But for now, I’m just going to share with you 3 flea markets I want to visit, and 3 flea markets I totally suggest YOU visit!
I want this post to be the foundation for a much larger section on my site dedicated to your personal flea market suggestions. Consider this similar to my “Thrift Jargon 101” wiki post. So please leave a comment with your suggestions — or send me an email, [email protected]!
Another thing I’ve noticed amongst vintage & antique lovers is that you love SHARING. That’s why this shopping experience is my favorite. It’s not about the label and that fact that you have it and someone else doesn’t. It’s about the creative challenge … the bonding … the bartering … the WIN!
Looking to the past for inspiration is the most beautiful, natural way we can connect with one another. I love connecting with you right here doing just that! So if you have a great flea market find, please share it!
Catch ya’ll tomorrow — new video coming your way, featuring the Family Jewels Vintage in Chelsea, NYC!
3 FLEA MARKETS I WANT TO VISIT
The Mecca // Rosebowl Flea Market // Pasadena, California
WHERE: 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103 at the Rose Bowl Stadium
CONTACT: Web site & phone (323) 560-7469 (organizer R.G. Canning Attractions) or (626) 577-3111
HOURS: The second Sunday of every month, 8AM to 4:30PM
WHY IT’S WORTH VISITING: Does that picture above make you salivate as much as me? Well then … there’s enough reason why the Rose Bowl Flea Market is worth visiting!!
But most importantly, this flea market is legendary. It’s legendary because it’s a west coast staple where you can just “find things that you couldn’t find on the right coast.” That means more Southwest influences (hence the cowboy boots), more hippie/boho chic inspiration, more pieces from Hawaii and Asian countries because of proximity, and more Americana history!
Because the Rosebowl Flea Market is only held once a month, the crowds are crazy and the dealers are plentiful — 2,500 in all! The market’s 40 year plus history also makes it a tourist hot spot. Be on the lookout for many a European and Asian tourist finding their way through these American wares.
The Institution // Brimfield Antique Show // TK, Connecticut
WHERE: Brimfield, Massachusetts (about 1 hour outside of Boston)
HOURS: This an antique “show” which happens thrice-yearly around Labor Day, Memorial Day & 4th of July.
The next shows are July 12-17 & September 6-11, hours are about daybreak (I’m serious!) until sundown
WHY IT’S WORTH VISITING: The Brimfield Antique show really truly is an INSTITUTION. This is the creme de la creme of antique shows, quite literally the largest of its kind in the entire world!
This “show” happens three times yearly in the city of Brimfield, which dictates when the show will be each of its three visits during the course of a year. It draws 130,000 visitors to peruse the wares of 6,000+ vendors who open as early as SUNUP and work until sun down.
This is the show where interior designers go to find inspiration and pieces for new projects — think a designer buying up all of one vendor’s taxidermy for that downtown wood paneled bar, or a Ralph Lauren designer picking up every bit of vintage denim for a new line of jeans.
And then there’s the novelty & the unusual — like those mega-sized teeth pictured above. Brimfield is a living, breathing organism of history and culture … like experiencing the lives of the TV show American Pickers for a week straight.
The Local Legend // Englishtown Flea Market // Englishtown, NJ
WHERE: 90 Wilson Avenue, Englishtown, NJ 07726
CONTACT: Web site & phone (732) 446.9644
HOURS: Saturday & Sunday, 9AM to 4PM
WHY IT’S WORTH VISITING: I discovered this flea market in the comments section of an AOL Shelterpop article on flea markets. I liked what the comment had to say so I checked out the site — and I’m glad that I did!
This is the flea market that local legends are made of, and an example of something that probably won’t be listed in any tour books or featured on a TV show soon. But then again … with flea market fashion en vogue once again, you never know when a show like Thrift America hosted by model/stylist Alexa Chung may stumble upon it!
But until that happens, we can keep this flea market secret safe with us ;-) And this one is worth visiting because it not only has 40 acres for outdoor vendors (pictured above) but space indoors for another 300 more!
I’ve never heard of Englishtown, NJ until writing this post … but I think that a road trip to this underground market is calling my name!
3 FLEA MARKETS I RECOMMEND
Born & Raised // Green Dragon Flea Market // Ephrata, Pennsylvania
WHERE: 955 North State Street, Ephrata, PA 17522
CONTACT: Web site & phone (717) 738-1117
HOURS: Open every Friday, 9AM to 9PM
WHY IT’S WORTH VISITING: Well, if you want to get personal about it … this was the flea market I grew up visiting!
I remember like it was yesterday: I was visiting Green Dragon with my mom, younger brother and my mom’s friend and her two girls. I must have been about 8 or 9. And I was OBSESSED with rabbit’s feet. Remember those?!
That day I found myself a rabbit’s foot … lucky me! I was probably mesmerized by everything else I saw at this indoor/outdoor “Lancaster Amish countryside” market.
Speaking of the Amish, you’ll be sure to interact and shop from/alongside members of the Amish community at Green Dragon. So if you’re looking for some countryside chic, tell ’em that Sammy Davis Vintage sent you!
My Weekend Getaway // Brooklyn Flea Market // Williamsburg & Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NYC
WHERE: Brooklyn, NYC in two locations: Saturday in Fort Greene & Sunday in Williamsburg
HOURS: 10AM to 5 PM
WHY IT’S WORTH VISITING: This is the “cool kid’s” flea market. It’s a place to be seen … because it IS a scene!
I spent a summer selling vintage clothing & accessories here. It’s where my love for selling and connecting with vintage lovers began — so I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Brooklyn Flea.
But most importantly, it truly is a one-of-a-kind shopping experience in an urban setting. Pictured above is the market in Fort Greene, which sets up on the playground of a public school. How beautiful is it against the backdrop of the buildings!
And in Williamsburg on Sundays, the flea is set against the Williamsburg waterfront. You have views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline. Browse great vintage/jewelry/antique finds, and nosh on all the great food the Flea is known for. It’s a local experience of fashion & flavor that should be on very Big Apple tourist’s to-do list.
Childhood Road Trip // Rice’s Market // New Hope, Pennsylvania
WHERE: 6326 Greenhill Rd, New Hope, PA 18938
CONTACT: Web site & phone (215) 297-5993
HOURS: Tuesday & Saturdays from 7AM to 1PM
WHY IT’S WORTH VISITING: When I was 17 years old, a few friends and I loaded up our cars at 6AM to drive the nearly 2 1/2 hours it would take to get from Lancaster, PA to New Hope, about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia.
We had two cars on this “childhood road trip.” My friend drove one of those old school Volkswagon love cars — the ones that look like station wagons straight out of Woodstock! Well, this love machine got a flat tire on the highway, and us 17-year-old girls did the only thing we knew how to do: Call our parents!
Thankfully cell phones existed back then (but not everyone had one … just sayin’!) and we were able to connect with Triple A and get ourselves back on the road. And the wait WAS worth it, because back then I was a fashion-forward teenager who loved accessories and knick-knacks, which is what Rice’s Market is known best for.
If you couldn’t get to Chinatown in NYC to get your designer rip-off bag or rip-off Tiffany’s necklace, Rice’s was the place to go! While I don’t endorse buying counterfeit pieces now, it was all the rage back in 2002. I admit guilty as charged: I probably bought a faux Coach keychain that day!
But not only does Rice’s offer all the accessories and designer lookalikes you’d ever need, it also sells fruits/vegetables in a Farmer’s Market, puppies (but not from puppy mills!!) and other animal critters, and as pictured above … KETTLE CORN!
Well, just about every food imaginable out of Bucks County, PA. The area of Pennsylvania is gorgeous and full of rich, historical significance. The barn pictured above is on the property of Rice’s Market and probably dates from the 1800s. Just driving through the area to get to Rice’s is a treat to the eyes itself … plus, the town of New Hope is exploding with independent boutiques, antique shops and personalized dining experiences.
Thanks everyone for reading my summer flea market picks for 2011!
I’d love to hear what you think by leaving a comment below telling me what YOUR favorite local market is … so that I can add it to this list for market lovers everywhere to learn about!
Thrift Store Shopping Like a Pro
Part 1: Thrift Store Shopping – Research
Part 2: Thrift Store Shopping – Preparation
Part 3: Thrift Store Shopping – Strategy
Part 4: Thrift Store Shopping – Inspection
Part 5: Thrift Store Shopping – Sharing