NYC Flea Markets with The Antiques Diva

by New York Spaces

New York City Flea Market Tips?
Flea market maven Toma Clark Haines, owner of The Antiques Diva® & Co European Tours, takes to the streets in New York sharing tips on where to shop in the Big Apple this summer for vintage fun in the sun. As the entrepreneur who created Europe’s largest antiques touring company offering customized antique buying tours in ten countries, Toma shares “Basic Rules of Flea Marketry” that apply world-wide regardless of whether you’re in New York, London, Paris or further afield.?? The Antique Diva®'s Favorite New York City Flea Markets include:

Green Flea
My favorite flea market in New York is the Green Flea, selling everything from vintage cocktail rings, fur stoles, mid-century mod and great lighting fixtures. I’m simply in love with this market. A favorite of antiques aficionados, this market is the largest in Manhattan. While it’s teaming with locals, the market is particularly good at catering to out-of-towners. A recent shopping trip with a friend visiting from the Midwest yielded a purchase where the vendor threw in shipping of her crystal-laden chandelier for free in lieu of a traditional flea market discount off her purchase. When shopping the fleas, be strategic in how you negotiate; sometimes free delivery is worth bypassing the bargaining if it makes your life simpler and the purchase easier to get home.
?Where: Columbus Avenue between West 76th 77th Streets, Manhattan?
When: Sun., 10am-5:30pm?
Flea Market Food: After all, half the fun of the flea market is the food! Visit the old fashion Pickle Man who sales pickles straight from the barrel.


Brooklyn Flea ?
If Green Flea is my Manhattan main squeeze, I must confess I’m having an affair with the Brooklyn Flea. With hundreds of vendors selling vintage, antiques, repurposed pieces, second-hand clothes, as well as a slew of hand-made goods by local artisans and designers, this market is one you don’t want to miss. When shopping the market, ask your favorite vendors if they sell online. They may have an Etsy account and can be a future source for flea market fodder fueling your addiction to whatever they happen to be pandering.?
Where: One Hanson Place, Brooklyn?
When: Sat. and Sun., 10am-5pm?
Flea Market Food: Cool Down and Pucker Up with Frozen Lemonade.

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market  ?
Merely a stone’s throw from Port Authority Terminal and Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market (aka HKFM) is an old school flea market filled with tons of tat from trestle tables and table-top décor. Particularly hip here are urban cool industrial items and vintage finds. While prices in this hood are rising with gentrification, there are always bargains to be had. Always ask for a better price when shopping the fleas. While the most polite way to pose this question is to inquire, “Is that your best price?” there is more than one way to skin a cat. The more you buy from a particular vendor, the more bargaining power you have and the more money you save. You’ve got to spend money to save money. If you are interested in multiple items at the same vendor, you can ask for a group discount on three items. Or take the vendor by surprise by offering to pay full price for two of the items. Then ask to receive the third item as a gift.  Often you save the most amount of money by paying full price for part of your purchase.
Where: West 39th Street between 9th & 10th Avenues, Manhattan?
When: Sat. and Sun., 9am-5pm
?Flea Market Food: Keep an eye out for HKFM Food Truck Bazaar one Sunday each month between April & October featuring five of New York’s best food trucks.


Artists & Fleas

When the weather is hot and you need some AC, head indoors to the new permanent location Artist & Fleas at Chelsea Market in the old Nabisco Factory. Artists & Fleas marries vintage and the contemporary designs by numerous local artists and designers with flea market frippery. You’ll findanything from jewelry to accessories to bicycle parts to home decor. Make sure to also check out Artist & Fleas's second location in  Willamsburg, Brooklyn. While Cash is King at most flea markets—giving you the most bargaining power—you have the opportunity to pay with a credit card at the Artists & Fleas market. Convenience counts. That said, when hitting the street markets, don’t hesitate to ask (after the bargaining is done) if the vendor will accept a credit card. Many flea market vendors now use mobile devices to accept payment online in ways not traditionally found at the flea market.?
Where: 75 9th Avenue (Between 15th and 16 Streets)?
When: Mon. – Sat.: 7am - 9pm, Sun.: 8am - 8pm
?Flea Market Food: Chelsea Market
offers a slew of dining options, but as I’ve been known to kiss my fair share of lobsters, my favorite option is The Lobster Place. I bring that little bugger out to a bench for an impromptu street picnic.  

Out & About
As always when vintiquing, be open to serendipity! Perhaps the best flea markets are those you just stumble upon by happenstance. If you see those silver steel police barricades closing off a street, go investigate! It might just be a neighborhood street sale. This is the NYC version of the Parisian Vide Grenier (empty your attic sale) and big bargains can be had here. And when I say big – I mean BIG. Often the bigger the piece, the better the price. Larger purchases that are inconvenient to carry go for the best prices. The perfectly packable easy-to-carry items are often not as good of a value as those that are oversized. ??In fact, true bargain hunters will wake up early to canvas the streets to see what the locals put out for trash pick-up. If it’s too big or too expensive to cart away, residents might just leave it on the curb. Mayor Bill de Blasio took part in this familiar New York ritual recently putting his old belongings out in front of his Park Slope home for passersby to take before the garbage man arrived proving what I’ve always believed to be true—one mayor's discarded items are another man’s treasure.?

When The Day is Done?
When the day is done, remember one thing. When it comes to flea marketing in New York (or anywhere your travels take you): the right price is the price you paid. It’s easy to get caught up in whether or not your flea market find was a good value. If you loved it, wanted it, and were willing to pay the price the vendor wanted, then the price you paid was the perfect price. But remember, for those of you who can’t help but get the last word, perseverance does pay off. Just before heading home from the flea market, return to see the items you’ve left behind whilst fanning yourself with the exact amount of cash you’re willing to spend on your purchase. When the vendor sees that cold hard cash at the end of the day, it’s difficult for him to walk away.

?For more international flea market advice visit The Antiques Diva® blog for daily hints and tips on antiquing with diva style. And if your travels are taking you to Europe this summer consider booking an Antiques Diva Tour at: [email protected]