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A Vintage Lover's Guide to New York Flea Markets

by AndrewStone April 2014 - last edited May 2014

It’s one thing to walk into Saks Fifth Avenue or Jeffrey New York and peruse the aisles of chic, season-specific apparel. It’s quite another to make the rounds through the vintage destinations of popular New York flea markets across the city. From fabled outdoor markets to upscale consignment stores and swish second-hand boutiques, Gotham offers innumerable opportunities to unearth style treasures.

New York's Best Flea Markets - Shopping for leather goods.jpg

Shopping for fashionable vintage leather goods © Annex Markets/Hell's Kitchen Flea Markets

Start with some choice vintage clothing, fine antique furniture, and artisan goods—not to mention primo cart food at the trio of Brooklyn-based al fresco markets known as the Brooklyn Flea Market. They operate every weekend from early April through to mid-autumn and provide a placid view of city life, from the Brooklyn side.

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Trinkets and treasures © Annex Markets/Hell's Kitchen Flea Markets

Brooklyn is also home to a host of prime vintage shops. Antoinette specializes in handpicked, high-end clothing and accessories from the 1950s. Rabbits has lots of unique goods sourced from Asia and Europe. 10 ft. Single by Stella Dallas displays a (dare we say) stellar collection of throwback casual wear. And cool-kid consignment Mecca Beacon’s Closet has a constantly evolving selection of garments, straight from the kids who created “hipster style.”

New York's Best Flea Markets - Vintage Furniture Finds

An array of vintage furniture is on offer too © Annex Markets/Hell's Kitchen Flea Markets

Back in Manhattan, vintage markets run the gamut from wacky to tiresome to diamond-flecked and divine. Arguably our favourite is the boisterous bazaar Artists & Fleas taking place year-round on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10am to 7pm. Some of the city’s finest vintage purveyors—as well as indie designers and artisans—peddle their wares to enthusiastic crowds. Close-by is the mammoth Chelsea Antiques Garage, which has delighted hunters and peckers for two decades with its superb bargains and rare gets. The garage has two popular, year-round sister markets that draw in all sorts of colourful (occasionally famous!) shopaholics—the al fresco West 25th Street Market and the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, which has been an institution since the mid-1970’s.

New York's Best Flea Markets - Household trinkets

Decorate your home with some beautiful vintage household bits © Annex Markets/Hell's Kitchen Flea Markets

After you’ve tired of elbowing your way through the crowds, head to one of downtown’s top-shelf consignment shopping destinations. Fisch for the Hip has exquisite, beautifully maintained finery—Chanel, Balenciaga, Chloe, Manolos and Loubies, Tom Ford and more. Nearby, Ina Chelsea —one of five Ina locations scattered throughout downtown—caters to an upper crust clientele for their decidedly un-crusty, top-shelf garments of yesteryear.

As for the many more vintage purveyors of Downtown NYC, here are a few that get an A-plus from us: Community 54 is way Beastie Boys with its dude-centric streetwear (choice caps, sports apparel) set against throw-back arcade games. What Goes Around Comes Around is a vintage hunter’s dream, with room after room of eye-popping vintage for men and women. Prominent fashion designers have been known to raid their storage area and pilfer ideas. The Euro-dandy racks at East Village mainstay Rue St. Denis Clothier are flecked withy many fab finds. And Amarcord Vintage offers a regularly changing, well-edited assortment of women’s finds from the 1940’s-on.


Header photo: New York © Martin De Lusenet/Flickr


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Are you a vintage shopping fanatic? Where are your favourite New York flea markets to find a style steal? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Written by Andrew Stone

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About the author: AndrewStone

Andrew Stone

A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Andrew Stone covers architecture and design for Interior Design magazine and is the former editor-in-chief of Los Angeles Confidential. A busy bee within the worlds of culture, style, and dining, he has interviewed celebrities and hot shots aplenty for various publications. Stone nurtures his two-decade love affair with his city as the resident Manhattan reporter for Hg2.com. Stone is the author of both Hg2 New York and Hg2 Los Angeles. What makes him a hedonist? "The desire to have firsthand knowledge of life's great offerings."