When it comes to the Brooklyn Flea it's a must-visit every time I go to the New York City area and I will do just about anything to make sure my stay includes at least one free weekend day to shop. During the summer months Brooklyn Flea will actually be in two different locations on one weekend, one place on Saturday and then move to another location on Sunday. Not all vendors do both days, so there can be a variety from one day to the next.
- What is it?
A year-round flea market held each weekend in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City.
When is it?
Saturdays and Sundays
Where is it?
Depends on the day and the season of the year. The spring and summer months the market is held in school yard of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School (Saturdays) on Lafayette and in Williamsburg on East River Waterfront (Sundays).
During the wintery months the market moves indoors at One Hansen Place (former Williamsburg Savings Bank).
- Admission Fee: None!
The Brooklyn Flea is at the top of my list of must-visit flea markets, it has everything you can want from vintage clothing, furniture, pottery, toys, kitchenware, in other words -- all manner of tchotchkes. It's a collector's delight and a minimalist's nightmare. The operators have done a good job of creating a good mix of some new, mostly vintage stuff, along with a variety of foods to eat there, as well as take home.
Also see: Brooklyn Flea image gallery.
The Brooklyn Flea was started in 2008 and, in the almost four years of existence, has become a popular spot to hang out on the weekends. Even though I live 1500 miles away it hasn't stopped me from finding and buying great goodies -- favorite purchases include a dresser, red doors, a typewriter, a magnifying necklace and an amazing rubber stamp set that is over 100 years old. Okay, I didn't ship the doors or dresser, but they were great additions to son's nearby home.
Thinking about something big that can't be transported on the subway? There is a handy delivery service that will transport your stuff right to the front door. It can be a bit costly, but the care they take is worth it. I've watched furniture pieces getting carefully wrapped and cushioned before being put into the delivery truck.
Oh did I mention the pickles? There are lots to sample and then bring home to enjoy during the week.
The most important thing to remember is to NOT EAT before you attend, the food smells gather you in and it soon becomes evident that the first stop of the day should be for food, any food. And quickly. There are so many choices that I've walked back and forth for fifteen minutes before a decision can be made, but Red Hook Lobster, the Milk Truck and Mile End seem to be the family favorites.
One of the best stories of a recent visit is a vendor who told me to take something with me and send the check later. Yes, he really did. I had used my last check buying a big ticket item and then I found a treasure that I really had to have. He said, it would be hard to ship, so just take it and send me a check when you get back home to Oklahoma. It was amazing to have a seller tell me that.
Over the last couple of years I've been to all their venues, but inside the old Williamsburg Bank building is probably the favorite, if only because of the architecture. See the pictures from a recent visit.
The Bottom Line
Going to flea markets rank near the top as some of my favorite entertainment and Brooklyn Flea is up there at the top for me. I love the wide variety of merchandise, the friendly sellers, the tantalizing smells of good food and the general atmosphere. Anytime I am in New York City and I can stay through the weekend, you can bet I'll be there. With bells on.
More Favorite Flea Stories and Finds: