This summer has brought on a full-blown revival of flea markets. Being a total sucker for vintage goods and weird items I don’t really need, even I can laugh at the much outdated term being used to describe New York street fairs. The “fleas” have been replaced with overpriced mason jars from granny’s basement, and bartering involves whether to include sales tax or not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting local artists and merchants and what not, but at this point you just have vendors buying dead people’s items from estate sales and tripling the price. Markets like Brooklyn Flea are now better for window shopping and not actually buying anything cheap secondhand.
On the other side of the spectrum you have scamming stuff off the sidewalk. This used to be one of my favorite pastimes and the curb has rewarded me with many weird, but functional items. But now with the bed bug scare in full swing, you’ll see people cross the street just so they don’t have to pass discarded items on the street, nonetheless actually take them home with them. That’s why the stoop sale is the perfect happy medium. You know the stuff’s safe to take since the sellers had them in their home up until the day of the sale. And there’s a special place in hell for those who sell bed-bug ridden items knowingly. I’ve found some great finds over the years, let’s call them “decor” items, at many a stoop sale.
My boyfriend bought this cookie jar for 75 cents from a nice old Italian couple. You know if they sold this at a place like JUNK, it would be $20 or more, which is just bullshit. There should be a cap on old cookie jar sales to avoid that kind of inflation.
Here’s another favorite. I like to call her Esmeralda. She was one of a pair of “oil” paintings that I bought for $2 from another local stoop sale. Who knows what other treasures lurk behind those colorful Italian tiled walls. If you’re walls are looking a little bare, I suggest you search “stoop sale” in Craigslist or just keep your eyes peeled for paper flyers or arrows written in chalk around your neighborhood. And since it’s the end of summer, people are looking to unload their crap to make room for all the new crap they’re gonna buy. This is particularly true in wealthy neighborhoods, so just follow the brownstones for the treasures that await you.
Photo Courtesy of: Best View in Brooklyn