Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
While wandering around the Northside of Williamsburg last week we couldn't help but notice some larger-than-life posters for a new flea market at Meeker Ave. and Leonard St. Our interest was piqued—would this, the Meeker Avenue Flea Market—be Williamsburg's Brooklyn Flea?
Probably not: the signage—featuring scantily clad "cool people" donning denim, and sunglasses, even a tattoo—didn't exactly have us picturing artisinal, home-churned ricotta. But, like the former factory housing the market, said signage is huge (and professionally printed—someone even purchased stock photography!) This could be the real deal—a pretension-free suburban-style flea market full of random oddities at bargain prices. How could we have missed this? Especially considering the publicity love-fest still surrounding Brooklyn Flea and the cool-hunting hipster/nesters seeking barely vintage owl-adorned housewares at 1000% mark-ups from North Jersey thrift store original purchase price who shop its stalls?
What we found was that North Jersey thrift store—with the blanket 1000% mark-up already in place; as well as piles of merchandise (socks, faux leather jackets, cheap sunglasses, sheet sets) from those atrocious wholesale/retail shops that line the streets of Manhattan's armpit (think Broadway and Sixth Ave. at around 26th St.) A schlocky, '70s cock-rock soundtrack seemed very appropriate—it was a hilarious surprise when we realized it was being provided by a live deejay.
Bright spots: a concerted effort unearthed some great vinyl, but pricing was ludicrous; the restrooms were fairly nice; and a stairwell lead to a huge room full of questionably "vintage" furniture. Again, the prices were nuts—rent a car and go to an upstate estate sale, you'll come out ahead—but we liked a giant travel trunk complete with drawers and a compartment for actually hanging clothes, an assortment of '60s and '70s modern furniture, some beautiful 60-year-old bicycles, a 1920s mortician's table (What!?), and a wooden serving tray inlaid with flying mallards. But, too lazy to haggle and experiencing major sticker shock, we left empty handed (and probably won't go back).
· All Brooklyn Flea Coverage [Racked]