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The Brooklyn Flea


I love flea markets. In fact I drive my family a little crazy when that’s what I want to do on vacations. Yeah, that’s a nice beach, but let’s hit that flea market instead.

One of my favorite of all time is in Brooklyn. I love just about everything about the Brooklyn Flea. The two day event, the smells of the food, the fact that it is indoors in the winter and just the variety of junk! In fact the typewriter image shown above was taken at the indoor location at One Hansen Place (right near the Barclays Center!).

The summer months brings a whole different experience to the flea market with two different locations on one weekend. I haven’t yet convinced the family to visit both places on the same weekend, not yet anyway.

Best thing of all — Admission Fee: None! A welcome relief from the cost to attend many flea markets in the midwest.

From my article on About.com:

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.

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.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that . . .


That’s how my collecting habit grew. Over the many years as a Guide for About.com I would write about new collectibles. Soon I would need one. Absolutely have to have it.  As one friend mentioned, if Barb writes about it, no doubt she’ll soon be collecting it. True.

Of course I didn’t start collecting everything I wrote about, but it was tempting at times!

Going to flea markets and antique stores is another problem. Since I’ve been in the collecting world for so many years, there was always something different I wasn’t aware of or had never seen before. Now, I didn’t always bring it home. But I did a lot of time.

All this is just a way of saying I  have quite a few small collections, a few fairly large collections and a great appreciation for vintage and antique smalls.

Condition, Condition, Condition . . .


All collectors have heard that before, but a newer collector might not heed those words. They should!

Unless you’re buying a very rare piece, classify that as almost impossible to find, the very best condition should be at the top of your checklist. In the case of pottery, chips and cracks can take away quite a bit from the value of an item. And even when you are getting that pottery at a greatly reduced price because of chip or crack, remember that if the time comes when you have to sell or get rid of it, that chip or crack will come back to haunt you.

That being said, do I buy a piece that is damaged? You bet I do — especially if I’ve never seen it for sale or if I know the price is a real bargain.

As an example, in the case of one jar I purchased, I only saw it once before for sale, for about $300. or so. When the chance came to buy a damaged piece for a fraction that price, I did. Then I had it restored. The restoration price brought it up to around the $300. price, but it looked great and even though being restored takes away a bit of the value, it was still worth it.

But in most cases, especially in lower priced pottery, the cost of the restoration is not worth the bargain purchase. And you are stuck with a cracked or broken piece that no one wants, except for many parts later on. And those parts are often not worth half of the whole . . .

Why Collect?


Collecting doesn’t always start with a sense of purpose. It sometimes begins as an unconscious, almost instinctual choice. You are drawn to a collectible item, and it may grow to such an extent that you will search everywhere to add to your collection.

So, why would you collect items?