Whenever my mind grazes across the idea of flea markets, my memories flash back to that episode of Friends (The One With the Apothecary Table) where Rachel and Phoebe were locked in a heated debate over whether home decor should originate from the likes of Pottery Barn or be foraged from a local flea market. My opinion: the home should be a fine mix of both newer pieces with character-filled accents you can only find on those quintessential Saturdays where visiting a spring flea market is a seasonal must.
New York flea markets – much like this wonderful city itself – is a completely unpredictable experience and you never know what you’ll discover. Pottery Barn (or my personal haunts, West Elm and Z Gallerie) are sure to always be filled with investment pieces that can stylistically be the centerpieces of your home’s style. However, antiques and handmade artisan accents are the surest way to amplify your home’s character.
I rounded up the best flea markets of the city to add to your spring to-do list. Whether passing through NYC as a tourist or trying to make the most of your inevitably tiny city space, there are surely treasures to be found at these local favorites:
Brooklyn Flea – Williamsburg: This one is brimming with treasures (especially in the furniture and vintage clothing departments). Don’t forget to come hungry as there is a smorgasbord of Brooklyn’s trendiest new eats – I encountered a spaghetti doughnut on my latest trip. 90 Kent Boulevard. Saturdays, 10AM-6PM
DUMBO Flea – DUMBO, Brooklyn: Located a few steps from the iconic Brooklyn Bridge Park (my guide to this must-see NYC attraction here) and the hopelessly hip industrial-meets-chic neighborhood of DUMBO (Anne Hathaway is a local), is another one of Brooklyn’s iconic markets with an endless array of vintage goods, locally crafted decor and seriously ridiculous food. 80 Pearl St., Sundays, 10AM-6PM
Hell’s Kitchen Flea: I first visited this flea market while I was interning in Manhattan during college. It forever ignited my lust for Brooches – the jewelry selection was of dreams. I’ve been trying to find the perfect vintage Chanel brooch for about six months and look forward to digging through this market again with renewed hope. 519 9th Ave., Saturdays/Sundays, 9AM-5PM
Chelsea Flea: There are endless reasons to love Chelsea’s market, the prime being its status as a goldmine for antique lovers. Arrive early, caffeinated and prepped to fight off the other serial antique hunters. Dress presentable because in the famous words of Anthony from SATC – “That’s Chelsea for you, can’t swing your (expletive) without running into someone you know.” 39 W 25th St., Saturdays/Sundays, 6:30AM-6PM
Grand Bazaar – UWS: No flea market list is complete without mentioning NYC’s Grand Bazaar. While it doesn’t hold the same goods you find in Istanbul’s market of the same name, it’s just as busy and is Manhattan’s ultimate trifecta of antiques, artisan goods and local businesses. Oh, and 100% of the net proceeds go local public schools (which means monthly visits here are your duty as a New Yorker). 100 West 77th St., Sundays, 10AM-5:30PM.