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.
Every year, New York City’s flea markets reopen for summer and every year, we find ourselves completely and utterly overwhelmed. There are seemingly endless racks of linen muumuus and $10 sunglasses, and only a finite amount of time to browse them before the combination of sun and crowds has us seeking the glorious embrace of air conditioning.
Which is why we chose three of the best fleas in NYC's unofficial outdoor market capital, Brooklyn—Artists & Fleas, the Brooklyn Flea, and Shwick Market—and highlighted their best, most un-skippable vendors. Below, how to shop, eat, and drink your way through each—and then where to go after you've had your fill.
The Brooklyn Flea
As the borough's biggest and buzziest, the Brooklyn Flea is at its best in its original home outside a 40,000-square-foot Fort Greene high school. With over 150 vendors, there's certainly something for everyone—vintage maps! fancy furniture! artisanal lemonade!—besides, shade, unfortunately.
What to shop:
- Apotheke lotion in Rosemary Mint, $22 Photo: Apotheke
- Nina Z Agneta clogs in gray, $190 Photo: Nina Z
- Recycled Brooklyn patchwork glass coffee table, $625 Photo: Recycled Brooklyn
- Dough dulce de leche doughnut Photo: Dough
- SKT Ceramics large otter mug, $53 Photo: SKT Ceramics
- Cemitas Mexican sandwich, $8 Photo: A Life Worth Eating
- Brooklyn Roasting Company iced coffee Photo: Shutterstock
- Dan's Parents' House knick-knacks, various prices Photo: @dansparentshouse/Instagram
When & where: 176 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene. Saturdays 10am–5pm. 50 Kent Avenue Williamsburg. Sundays 10am–5pm.
Artists & Fleas
The oldest of the three markets in this list, Artists & Fleas has expanded from its original Williamsburg home over the river to Chelsea Market, across the country to LA, and now to a new space on North 7th Street. Each weekend, 100 vendors—mostly hawking vintage clothing, jewelry, accessories—congregate inside the warehouse, and while there's no food, Smorgasburg happens to be handily located across the street.
What to shop:
- Curated Basics green leather card holder, $40 Photo: Curated Basics
- RetroOptics vintage eyewear, various prices Photo: RetroOptics
- Cam çi Cam ça mat chain headband, $55 Photo: Cam çi Cam ça
- Limegreen hair, face, body, and hand oil, $24 Photo: Limegreen
- The Bargain District vintage clothing Photo: The Bargain District
- EAT Records vinyl records, various prices
- Wicked Heathens Brighid necklace, $85 Photo: Wicked Heathens
- Dap Kitsch pre-tied bow tie, $27 Photo: Dap Kitsch
- Cyclical Industry triangle charm bracelet, $29 Photo: Cyclical Industry
What do to afterwards: Chow down a Gruyere grilled cheese at Bakeri, play Jenga at Spritzenhaus, take in the rooftop views at Northern Territory, eat your way through Smorgasburg, or give your feet a rest on a blanket in McCarren Park.
When & where: 70 N. 7th Street, Williamsburg. Saturdays and Sundays 10am–7pm.
What: It hasn't even been around for a year yet, but Bushwick's best indoor/outdoor flea already boasts a giant lineup of between 40 and 100 vendors, depending on the weekend, as well as pop-up events and activities like open mics, exhibitions, workshops, and henna tattoos. The small, self-proclaimed "market of makers" is mostly manned by Bushwick locals, from jewelers to vintage dealers, chefs, and designers.
What to shop:
- Aliens of Brooklyn watermelon five-panel cap, $45 Photo: Aliens of Brooklyn
- Black Lamb cards, $6 Photo: Black Lamb
- SO INTL Starlet blouse, $57 Photo: SO INTL
- Mat Mist yoga mat deodorizer, $11-$18 Photo: Mat Mist
- Lezzetti Turkish ice cream, $10 Photo: Lezzetti/Facebook
- JCorp Super Girl Bandit sticker pack, $5 Photo: JCorp
- Daphine Polish, $7–$10 Photo: Etsy
- MixedMade Bees Knees Spicy Honey, $15 Photo: MixedMade
- London Kaye crocheted vase, $59 Photo: London Kaye
What to do afterwards: Grab a crazy-cheap drink at Happyfun Hideaway, fork over a cover charge at Bossa Nova Civic Club, or trek north to Morgantown for shopping at Mary Meyer, Catland, and Beacon's Closet (followed by a slice at Roberta's).
When & where: 6 Charles Place, Bushwick. Saturdays and Sundays 11am–7pm.