New York City Feature


Brooklyn Flea

Brooklyn Flea. Quirky, inclusive, and full of unclaimed treasures—that's Brooklyn in a nutshell, and it also describes the Brooklyn Flea. This outdoor market is now one of Brooklyn's most popular shopping attractions, luring locals and bargain hunters from afar with vintage finds, hip crafts, and delicious food.

The Flea is a hybrid of traditional flea market, garage sale, and crafts fair, a tumble of the expensive, the cheap, and the strange. Some vendors hawk high-end items like antique doors refashioned into tables, rescued fixtures from prewar houses, or mid-century lamps identical to those in Mad Men. The most "Brooklyn-y" component is the local artisans, and buying their one-of-a-kind handmade wares gives shoppers the altruistic feeling of supporting arts and crafts, whether it's a silk-screen T-shirt of a giant squid, tongue-in-cheek charm bracelets with little daggers, or hand-stitched stuffed elephants. Finally, there is plenty of bric-a-brac to sift through: great stuff that may not be practical (mink stoles, nonfunctional alarm clocks, Star Wars collectibles), but that makes for fun browsing. And while you're in the neighborhood, look out for signs posted on light poles advertising neighborhood stoop sales.

When you've exhausted the shopping side of things, the Flea boasts some fantastic food options. You'll find minicupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery, juicy sandwiches from Porchetta, gooey grilled cheese from Milk Truck, organic ice cream from Blue Marble, family-farmed coffee from Crop to Cup, and all sorts of pickled produce from popular McClure's Pickles.

The Flea takes place in two locations every weekend from mid-March to late November: on Saturday, in the parking lot of Bishop Laughlin Memorial High School, at 176 Lafayette Avenue, between Clermont and Vanderbilt Avenue, in Fort Greene. On Sunday, it's in East River State Park, at 90 Kent Avenue, Williamsburg. In winter, from December to March, the Flea moves inside, to a Williamsburg warehouse at 80 North 5th Street (at Wythe Avenue) in Williamsburg. Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY. Mid-Mar.–late Nov., weekends 10–5; Nov.–Mar., weekends 11–6. Closed weekdays. Subway: A, C to Lafayette Ave. for school location. L to Bedford Ave. for Wmsburg locations.

Smorgasburg. The ultimate eating extravaganza, Smorgasburg does for local and regional culinary startups what the Brooklyn Flea does for independent designers and craftspeople. From April through mid-November, rain or shine, 25 to 50 food vendors sell prepared and packaged treats like gourmet s'mores, savory jams, and Asian-influenced hot dogs. Bring your appetite to East River State Park (90 Kent Avenue at N. 7 Street) on Sunday; on Saturday, Smorgasburg is part of the Fort Greene Flea Market (176 Lafayette, in Fort Greene). Smorgasburg moves inside in the winter, from December to March, at 80 North 5th Street (at Wythe Avenue) in Williamsburg. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. Apr.–mid-Nov., weekends 11–6; Dec.–Mar., weekends 10–6. Closed weekdays. Subway: Williamsburg locations: L to Bedford Ave.; Fort Greene location: C to Lafayette St., G to Clinton/Washington.

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