Sunday, July 13, 2014

We Flea to Brooklyn

Our trip last week to the closing of the Antiques Garage whetted our appetite for flea markets, so we headed to one of the the Brooklyn flea markets earlier today. We took the L train from 1st Avenue to vibrant Bedford Avenue and walked a few blocks, past some of the most colorful grafitti we've seen in a while.

Numerous elaborate paintings adorn brick walls on most of the side streets off of Bedford Avenue.

Exotic animals and birds appear on the sides of industrial buildings.

Once we got to the outdoor market, which included clothing and furniture along with lots of food vendors, we were not disappointed.

Everyone who goes to flea markets or yard sales or estate sales knows that the purest joy lies not so much in the buying but in the discovering.  We discovered any number of wonderful things that we never would have found at our local department stores.

It may never occurred to you to want or to make a toy mummy, but thank goodness someone made one, and someone else brought it to the flea market for us to wonder about.

At the same booth, we found the perfect sentiment in a poster.  Sorry, folks, we didn't want to disturb the very nice owner, so this is an awkward shot, but the expressive poster helps you overlook the shortcomings of the photo.

Jean found these hilarious protective shoe covers that she may find some future use for.   (Keep your eyes peeled.)

Ever wonder where architects get the little tiny people who populate their scale model buildings?  After the buildings get commissioned, unemployed scale model people gather at the flea market looking for their next jobs.

Deep End of The Sandbox had all kinds of collectibles, including action figures which appeal to people of ALL ages.

We found a new twist on the high heeled sneaker. The current rage is to insert the heel inside the shoe so it's invisible. This appears to be a flat shoe, but there's quite a lift in it. Very droll, and the white profile on the black sneaker, almost abstract, compliments its profile very nicely.

One of the booths, Kingston Twenty One, had a wonderful selection of ties in beautiful fabrications.  Here are some of their bow ties.

We were thrilled to run into Epperson, a designer whose work we raved about in our coverage of Pratt Gallery's Black Dress show featuring him among ten contemporary black fashion designers.

Another vendor, Marilyn Hitchcock, was there with a great collection of French Bakelite.

Gusts of wind punctuated long minutes of the frying-eggs-on-the-sidewalk variety of heat.  The wind was blowing at length while we tried to photograph this skirt featuring Aubrey Beardsley drawings.  So the picture came out badly, but you get the idea.  What a great print!

One enterprising young man bought a bunch of LPs (those are vinyl records, and the LP stands for "long playing", to those of you under 35) and made these beautifully designed signs with a laser cutter.  Handsome, colorful, creative and graphic.

This dealer did to his spattered sneakers exactly what one is supposed to do with sneakers: he flung them over a pole to dangle.

Another vendor who had an interesting selection of accessories and women's clothing was White Dove (but unfortunately, our photo didn't turn out).

There were LOADS of interesting people, of whom we'll show you just two.  This woman will be a great old lady in some forty years. You can perhaps see she's not only already dyed her hair red, she's also got the hat thing down pat.

This gent, doing his own version of the French Foreign Legion hat and following in the footsteps of Gary Cooper and Laurel and Hardy, was wearing a fabulous tee shirt with a huge exclamation point. He said his girlfriend makes them. The punctuation mark is made from recycled fabric.

Once we'd seen everything, it was time to go where Jean is pointing.  We didn't draw that sign.  Beacon's has moved to a new, slightly out of the way location, and they knew people like us would have trouble finding it.  Helpful,  amusing, and good marketing!

After a brief but rewarding visit, it was time for…  did you guess cocktails?  Good for you!  To put a nice coda to our day, we went looking for a place called Egg, where we used to see lines estimated at forty-five minutes' waiting time.  (We figured we were going at an off hour and would waltz in.)  To our surprise, the mighty, yummy Egg has long since disappeared, but to our delight, Aaron, the waiter at Juliette next door, beckoned us in, intimating that he would take good care of us.  He definitely did.

We did our usual thing, asking to trade this ingredient for that.  Luckily, the bartender was talented, adventurous and most accommodating! Jean had mezcal with passion fruit, and Valerie had blanc de blancs with passion fruit and raspberry.  The bartender later came over and said he approved of the switches we'd made, which was very gratifying.  Some bartenders refuse to make changes, some will make them, but offer a disclaimer, and others will taste the new product, like Juliette's bartender, and compliment us on our revision.  These little experiments add to the enjoyment of the whole process.  Oh, and lest you think that we were just "tippling a jar" (to quote Honky Tonk Women), we had marvelous buckwheat crepes with spinach and mushrooms in bechamel sauce.

What we're wearing:

Valerie is wearing an unlabeled vintage black and white straw hat, ceramic earrings from a thrift shop, onyx and silver brooch from the same thrift shop many years earlier, newsprint top and skirt by Ki Meng, purchased at the closing of The Garage flea market (remember that post?), metal cuffs from Matsuya Ginza, faceted water buffalo horn ring, Melissa shoes designed by Gareth Pugh.

Jean is wearing an Ignatius hat; rubber earrings designed by Kirsten Hawthorne; Illesteva "Frida" sunglasses; wooden and faux agate prayer beads (flea market finds from a few years ago); bakelite bangles and rings; Lysse top; knit harem pants from Thailand; Issey Miyake bag; customized Dansko clogs.


  1. I just love you two....and anxiously look forward, twice a week, for your posts. And yes.....I love that you love to have a cocktail or two.
    I live vicariously through your adventures....and I thank you.

  2. Hi Jean and Valerie! I really enjoyed seeing you at the Brooklyn Flea yesterday. My first thought was " Those women look they're going to a Dada ball". After tracking you down on the web and learning more about you, I'm sorry I couldn't muster more than a smile and a "hello" when you passed by my booth. I hope we cross paths again in the near future! Best, David.

  3. As a lover of estate sales, yard sales and flea markets, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. Great discoveries and your outfits never disappoint! Cheers!

  4. Now THAT"S my kind of day! Inquiring minds want to know what purchases were made....

    I agree with David's comment above that you two look like you're going to a "DaDa Ball". You have a surrealist aura about you ;)

  5. I have been an admirer from a far for far too long! I have hats by Ignatius but nothing like that, Jean! Does he create the confections to your specifications or do you just let him do his thing? What about Ron Givens?