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Part of the fun of being a collector (crazy pack rat, whatever) is sorting through piles of junk looking for that one precious thing. Collectors like to do their own curating. That’s why I’m sad to say that the Brooklyn Flea has gone by the wayside for me – it’s gone from a more eclectic gathering of stuff to a series of little vintage boutiques.  Now, of course, some of them have lovely things (see: Estate Jewelry by George and Raf) but that’s not really why I go to a flea market for the most part, especially since I find the price/value ratio out of whack at the Brooklyn Flea.

Sadly, it seems I am now in the minority, and most people love the Brooklyn Flea in its current incarnation. so I will henceforth skip the preciousness and overpricing of the Brooklyn Flea and leave it for the meanderers and pupusa eaters and tourists. Instead, I will head for the original Brooklyn Flea, the Park Slope flea market.

I love the Park Slope Flea (btw, that link goes to Yelp because the Park Slope Flea does not even have a website!  Old school!). It’s little. It doesn’t start too early, so you don’t have to freak out because it’s 9 am and you’ve already missed out on the best stuff. It is by far the best place to get vintage furniture. Just look at these chairs -they’re under $200 for the pair (this is a gentleman’s chair and a lady’s chair Victorian, the lady chair is $10 less because no arms) and I just bet you could talk the seller down.

$95 for the gent’s chair, $85 for the lady’s. That cute Victorian settee in the back is $110, though the cushion needs refluffing.

The vendors are cool. They’re there to sell. They empty out the estates of Midwood and Bayshore and bring you the stuff with a relatively minimal amount of filtering and markups. My favorite is a red-haired lady who sits in her car and watches her booth from afar. Don’t be afraid to approach her; she’s very polite when roused. Her prices are great too. I bought a beautiful vintage rhinestone necklace from her for $10 and a mint condition black cashmere coat for $40.  There’s another dealer who has tables and tables of fun cheap stuff. I saw him sell a porcelain cheetah to one lucky kid for $2.

It’s year-round. Obviously more pleasant to go in nice weather, and there are more vendors when it’s warmer, but I’ve gotten some great stuff from the diehard holdouts in crappy weather (like a Pauline Rader bib necklace for $30. that was actually my first Pauline. I didn’t know the designer then; I just knew I had to have that necklace.)

Today I was reminded that it’s always worth going to stoop sales even if the description seems unappetizing. I saw a sign for a sale that advertised kiddie clothing and household goods.  I actually almost skipped it, which I never do, but I ended up trudging over anyway. And! It turns out along with the children’s clothing and toys, the moms were purging a bunch of their clothing too. I bought a really cute hunter green DKNY wool coat for $8, a nice wool Vince sweater for $2, and, on spec, a white leather Prada purse for $20.  I’m sure it’s authentic but it is also filthy. I will have to see how much it’ll cost to clean it,  though I guess it might be dyeable.  Oh, and I picked up a copy of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire which I had been meaning to check out of the library anyway!

Grimy, but it’s Prada!