Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Brooklyn Flea, Williamsburg

I was lucky enough to be in NYC this weekend and an absolute highlight was the Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg, which happens every Sunday down at the waterfront. With the dramatic Manhattan skyline as its backdrop you can expect to find everything from old maps, vintage bottles, mirrors & frames to clothing, jewellery & vinyl. There's a huge waiting list for stalls at the Flea and they're very particular about the sorts of vendors they like which really shows in the standard and variety of whats on offer here. Get chatting to the stall holders and you'll find every piece tells a story and they're more than happy to tell it. They really know they're stuff. You'll find your self aching to buy tons of bits and wondering just how much you can squeeze on the plane.

I purchased an original Vignelli 1972 New York subway guide ($90). Based on our very own tube map, this was in use only until 1979. An iconic piece of graphic design that has since earnt its coveted place at MoMA, but unfortunately not in the hearts of the everyday New Yorkers at the time, who found it confusing and so a more geographical style map was introduced. In London we'd gone the opposite way some years earlier with Henry Beck's iconic map in 1933. The debate continues over the best design for the New York subway guide, but there's no doubt this one wins over the current MTA map in the looks stakes . I love the bold and bright colours used for the lines.

Also onboard my JFK-LHR flight with me was a 1950s seltzer bottle ($25) which will look great in my kitchen. In those days (before soda was mass produced) people had carbonated water delivered to their doors in heavy duty glass bottles with pewter valve tops. Once finished you'd pop it on the doorstep much like we would with milk bottles. They just don't make 'em like this anymore!

Finally some original cinema board letters ($19), a different take on the wooden letters everyone has at the moment, these are printed acrylic slates...and yes they had sold out of the ampersands of course. Plus the letter 'E', leading me to shout out 'anyone got any E's?!" to some very strange looks! I was trying to spell 'Let's Dance' of course!

The theme here is 'everyday items'. I really enjoy real things, real people, like me, would have come across back in the day in their ordinary lives. Though saying that I did also come across a rather lovely gold vintage watch, which upon trying it found out it was a 14k gold 1950s Omega in perfect condition at $1300! Don't let that put you off though, there are plenty of bargains to be had & if Manhattan's eaten your money then just go along to  grab some nice cheap lunch from one of the specialist food stalls & people watch. I had some great parma ham, carved off and coupled wth some absolutely delicious creamy ricotta with rocket on a slice of artisan bread and drizzled with olive oil for just $3, it was heaven. So much so I had to go back for seconds.

Make sure you take a trip across to Billyburg when your next across the pond, this hip Brooklyn suburb is not too dissimilar to East London in its feel. The action happens around Bedford Avenue and surrounding streets, grab a drink a sit & watch the world go by.

For Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg exit the L train at Bedford Avenue and keep walking down 7th Avenue until you get to the East River. 10am-5pm every Sunday. GGx

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