Antique Hunting at New York City’s Weekend Flea Markets

(upbeat music) So I don’t know about you, but I really like gazing at Olde Stuff, and as I happen to be presently in process of finally setting up a
real, proper workspace, I have found myself in the rare position of actually being able to
possibly purchase some Olde Stuff. So what better opportunity
to take you along on a little jaunt through some of New York City’s weekend
antique flea markets? I’ve got four stops on
my list for this weekend, each open on either or
both Saturday or Sunday, so I’ve strategically plotted things out so that I can get to
all four in one weekend. This video is once again kindly
sponsored by Squarespace, but more on that in a bit. For now, I am headed off to my first stop, the Chelsea Flea Market. This one’s on 25th Street
between Broadway and 6th in what is, during the rest
of the week, a parking lot. I’ve actually been to this one
before and really enjoyed it, so starting off with high hopes, I think. (upbeat music) Good morning, who thought
it would be a good idea to go antique fare hunting
in the middle of August in New York. I have just been to the bank
machine to fetch some cash. Cash is a very good idea to
bring to these sorts of things, not only because some of these
places don’t accept card, but also it gives you
a very strict budget. So you can decide in advance exactly how much you want to spend, and then you’ve run out of money obviously you’ve run out of money. I am a simple human, I do not like things, I do not like clutter, I do not have space for things or clutter so I don’t really intend
to buy a whole lot here. I am primarily interested in two things. One, in sewing supplies
that I can actually use, and I’m also interested
in potential things that could assist in my
sewing room endeavor, a video of which is to come. PSA that they did require a $1 admission, so that’s something to
note if you are coming. But now we are here. (upbeat music) This was the only market that I went to that charged an admission. Once again, only a dollar, but
something to be prepared for if you plan on coming. This wasn’t the biggest
that I visited this weekend, but I’d say it was probably
the most antique-heavy. Some of the other markets, as we’ll see, also include food stalls,
and crafty stalls, and modern things, but this
one tended to focus mostly on antiques, which I
personally really appreciated. (upbeat music) Friends, bought stuff. Didn’t think I was going to buy stuff. I bought stuff, including,
this is a most momentous day, an actually, real, antique,
19th century, proper iron. I know you’ll be so proud of me. But anyway, so I have finished up at the Chelsea Flea Market. I am now heading to go stop for some lunch before I head up to the Upper East Side where I shall explore the
East 67th Street Market. (upbeat music) Getting to the Upper East Side involved getting to take the shiny,
new Second Avenue line, which I was probably
way more excited about than the situation actually called for. I also may or may not have spent an inordinate amount of
time wandering through the 72nd Street Station to
behold these incredible mosaics. But what brilliant dress
and cultural research these are going to make in a
couple decades’ time, right? Anyway, the East 67th Street Market claims to be the longest running
of the local flea markets, but contrary to this morning’s escapades, this market turned out to be
the least antique-focused. I think there were maybe two or three antique specialists here, but mostly it was modern,
new and thrifty stuff, craft things, and most
prominently, a farmer’s market with actually the most glorious
array of local produce. Definitely not something to disregard on a hot August afternoon. (upbeat music) So I am now heading out of
the East 67th Street Market, I bought a very glorious,
nice, large tomato that Cesario will very
much enjoy when I get home. So that is all that I have
on my to-do list for today. I’ve got two more
Sunday-specific flea markets that are open tomorrow
that I will go and visit, and so I shall see you then. (light music) Good morning, it is Sunday, we are at the Crossroads of Hell as every New Yorker will know. So I am off to go see what
sorts of antique fair options are available for Sunday. I’ve got two fairs on my list for today. Fairs? Markets? One is the Brooklyn Flea Market, which I am headed to right now. (upbeat music) We are here at the Brooklyn
Flea Market in DUMBO, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge
Overpass, hence the noise. This is supposedly,
according to the internet, the most popular New York antique fair, so let us be the judge of that. (upbeat music) This probably ended up to be my favorite market of the weekend, primarily just because it was such a quintessential New York experience. I mean it’s literally right
under the Manhattan Bridge and, at least in the under cover bits, you get to look up at the
beautiful vaulted ceiling, so just the market
itself was an experience. This market was probably
the best mix of everything, plenty of flea market crafty things, food stalls, and also
a really nice selection of antique things, which of
course I was happy about. On the day that I went, I found a lot of the antique things to be mostly mid to later 20th century, but there were also some
really nice early 20th century and later 19th century things to be found. Yes, this is America, we don’t really do the earlier stuff very abundantly, so stay tuned for my English
Antique Market exploration which shall involve mostly
incredulous screaming at getting to be in the causal presence of something from the 17th century. Anyway. (upbeat music) So I have just finished up
at the Brooklyn Flea Market, I cannot wait to show you what I bought, I’m so irrationally excited about it. I’m gonna tell you and
you’re gonna be like, “Why are you so excited about this?” But I’ll tell you in the
haul when I get home. For now, it is off to the Upper West Side where we shall explore the Grand Bazaar, which claims to be the
biggest antique flea market in New York City. (upbeat music) And so it was off to said Upper West Side where I took strategic advantage of the proximity to Central Park for a gloriously scenic picnic lunch, then headed over to our final stop, the Grand Bazaar at 77th and Columbus. The internet claims that this is the biggest antique
flea market in the city, and it was certainly very big. There was this whole outer bit as well as an indoor area as well, but part of me weirdly feels like the Brooklyn Flea was bigger? Or at least very similar in size. But this one was nice too, again, a nice mix of antique things,
as well as crafty things, modern small business
products, and food stalls. I would suggest that if you are likewise a heat-intolerant vampire like me, you do not plan to come to this one in the middle of the afternoon in August as it is very much a lot of sun. So, I had a nice look around here but didn’t actually buy
anything this time ’round. (upbeat music) Hello, the literal worst filming setup I have ever probably achieved so far, and the worst audio because guess what, I’m in process of
setting up my sewing room which means this entire room is empty. Pardon the echos, I hope anon there shall be a proper workspace. Anyway, I’m going to tell
you, I’m going to show you what I purchased, what I have discovered at these antique fairs. It’s not very much because if you know me then you know that I do not like things, I only like useful things, and I have come across a small collection of things that I have indeed found useful, or that I perceive to be useful. I found this at the Chelsea Flea Market. This is the glorious iron that I found that I am super, super excited about. It’s approximately late 19th century to turn of the of the 20th century. I have yet to figure out
how to set up some sort of apartment-safe hot plate situation to actually get it to work. This will be an endeavor to
be explored at a later time. This was a most wise thing to purchase at the beginning of the day, so this was fun to carry
around for the rest of the day. But you know what, it was worth it. I wanna say it’s like
eight or nine pounds, it’s really heavy, so this will be an excellent experimental
thing to be working with and I’m very excited to give that a try. She sold it to me for $10 because I also, whilst I was there, bought
this little thimble. This, I think, was like something stupid like $5 or something. I wanna say it’s 19th
century, I don’t really know, I have yet to purchase the epic, new-release book on thimbles. I was really intrigued by this thimble, not only is it beautiful, but it’s my, well, vaguely my size. I will probably do a whole
separate video on thimbles, and the art of thimbles,
and how to find a thimble that actually works because
a lot of people just think, oh, I’ll buy a thimble,
and they buy thimble, and it’s like, well, it
doesn’t work very well because it doesn’t stay on your finger. Well that’s because
thimbles are actually sized and you have to find a
thimble that’s in your size. I can’t often find these
solid, hard thimbles that fit. This one’s a little bit dented, but because of this indentation it sort of wants to fit. The way that you test to
see if your thimble fits is you have to put it on your finger, turn it upside-down, and
if it doesn’t fall off, then it fits, and it’s great, and you can actually sew with it properly without having to constantly fumble with your thimble that’s
falling all over the place. So, maybe I will give this some use, maybe I will use it as
decoration, we shall see. I have wanted to get
into using hard thimbles just because this is the
more historically accurate tool to be using, as opposed
to the leather thimbles that I do so very much love, but not quite so historically accurate. So that I also bought at
the Chelsea Flea Market, I did not purchase anything at
the East 67th Street Market. I did, however, on Sunday
purchase some things at the Brooklyn Flea Market, which this is probably
my most excited purchase. I didn’t mean to be a tease there, but like I didn’t wanna pull them out in the middle of the street. There was a little shop selling old maps, and old subway cards, and old city maps, and old books, and old photographs. I found these three, they are
New York City street guides. This one is from 1881,
this one is from the 1890s, and this one is from 1901. This one’s just a Street Number Guide, so it just lists street numbers, and street names, and street addresses, and businesses and stuff, so that’s really cool. This one, the 1890s one, it lists banks, it lists churches, it lists theatres. It’s even got seating layouts
for some of the theatres, some of which are actually still here, and still running shows today, and are theatres that
I have done shows in, which is super cool. This has also got
advertisements for businesses, and it’s got addresses. And these kinds of
things are really amazing contextual, cultural, social history. Just to get a sense of what life was like in the area surrounding
where you’re studying. We study the clothes,
so these are the people who were wearing the clothes,
this is what they were doing, these are the places that they went. And especially because
I live in New York City so this is such a perfect, brilliant, personal, local history for me. I can now walk down the streets, mostly downtown because downtown was more of a thing in the 19th century, so now I can walk by buildings and go, oh, this used to be the location of that shirt manufacturer in 1881. I’m just really personally such trash for that kind of thing. This one from the 1881 is a
guide to the City of New York, so it’s got a lot more text, it’s got engravings of buildings. A lot of these buildings
sadly have been knocked down because skyscrapers, I guess. It’s a directory, so it’s
got the names of railroads, it’s got a whole directory
for the elevated line, which was a thing in the 19th century, it’s no longer a thing because all our trains are underground now. So cool to see all this
history right here in my hands, and outside my window. I don’t know, I just got
really excited about these. They were not cheap, but so worth it. I’m going to be reading
these cover to cover because there’s I bet so
much information in these. Did I say there were advertisements, ’cause there are advertisements, which is even more cool
because you get to see, well they’ve got addresses,
you get to see what brands, what businesses were at what locations that I can actually go to,
and a lot of these places are shirt manufacturers,
shirtwaist, corset manufacturers, clothing, socks, hosiery, so it’s very relevant
to my field of study. I can actually go to these places and I can just see
history, it’s really cool. I’m just fangirling now, but
you know what, I am excited. I don’t wanna say like this
fair had really excellent stuff, and this fair had a poor selection, and this fair had more clothing
versus more trinkety stuff, I don’t wanna say that because
the nature of antique fairs is that there’s no
regular stock of anything, everything is just what people can find, and bring, and present. So of course you know
this is a regular thing, if you go once, and you go back they won’t have the same stuff. So, once again, this
video is brought to you by Squarespace, the online web
development platform which, if you watched last week’s video, you will know I have been using to build my very own website empire. I was actually really looking forward to finally putting to
use that one HTML class I had to take in my
first year at university, but apparently you need to know absolutely zero coding skills to make a really awesome website
which, on second thought, is not at all a disappointment
because let me tell you, it has been so easy. Anyway, if you wish to join
me in web design explorations, then head to
for a free trial, and when you’re ready
to launch your website head to for a 10% off your first purchase. And with that minor
distraction from the dress that I am supposed to be making right now I shall see you next week with the dress that I will hopefully be finished with. (upbeat music) And, when you’re ready
to launch your website– (phone dinging) Cathy. (phone dinging) What are you screaming about? (laughing)

100 Replies to “Antique Hunting at New York City’s Weekend Flea Markets”

  1. Had literally no idea thimbles were sized! I've never used one because they seemed pointless just flopping about and falling off everywhere. Will certainly look into this further and give one a proper try finally 🙂

  2. just wanted to say thank you for having such lovely subtitles on your videos! it's quite rare that they're of such high quality, especially when the channel isn't owned by a larger company. my terribly-audio-processing brain and i really do appreciate it. also lovely video as always!!

  3. You are just so amazing, and I love the videos you make! The iron is beautiful! Ione last thing, I also enjoy looking at old stuff, it’s rather thrilling.

  4. The IRON! ??? Lucky find! I love your "follow me around" type vlogs, just as much as your "here's how I made this thing" videos. I love your channel in general! Keep doing what you do. ? Best of luck with the sewing room endeavor! And Congrats to Cathy!!! ???

  5. What an unexpected and delightful video for this Saturday morning! I look forward to English antique escapades 😀

  6. what a lovely video ! antique fairs are always such a good time ! my personal weakness is old glasses, spectacles, spyglasses and such… i find them so absolutely charming

  7. Or if you're like me you don't bother with a thimble and just learn how to get small blood stains out of different fabrics…
    On second thought don't do what I do.

  8. Oooh that box with all the little compartments you showed! I could find about fourteen different uses for a box like that! (Yes that means i would require fourteen boxes) Also that little blue and white teapot in the back of one shot is darling. How dare it be all the way across the ocean?

  9. Ahh, I know I’m weird but I miss the NYC subways (the ones that are handicap accessible – which are difficult to find) but I do love great public transportation. It sucks in Houston. Also, I adore antiques!!! Still on the hunt for that perfect functional old Singer machine.

  10. Your thumbnail photo has a picture of my china pattern. I am always looking for the cup, and they are rare. So close and so far. Thanks for this sighting.

  11. Love the maps just got a cookbook called the art of cookery by Hannah Glass 18 century cooking really neat to see what they cooked and try to make it yourself

  12. This is an awesome video! I love fleamarkets. You should come to Munich, we have really good ones here. Would love to show you around! Nice (really) antique stuff!

  13. I am always frustrated by fairs that are advertised as one thing and are mostly another. For instance we usually have several "craft fairs" around the holidays… I go and there are mostly MLMs there! I haven't had the guts to go up to the Pampered Chef booth and ask the person…"so you made these yourself?" I questioned your purchase of the iron at the very first market, but it looks like you survived. 😀

  14. I am so excited to see you use that iron. Personally I love the look of old irons but could never use one as my main iron at least since they are so heavy. But the weight makes them amazing while making coats

  15. This was really informative….not necessarily for the markets….but I always wondered what historic fashion felt like in August heat! You were still an ethereal flower….I'm allergic to august, I would have died ?‍♀️

  16. I just love your videos. If i want something to listen to I often find myself playing one of your videos in the background. Have you considered doing a podcast?

  17. Wahhh!!! I miss nyc so much right now! Im in Norway for school, you would love it! But its so differnet from merry Manhattan!

  18. Hi Bernadette,
    I was interested in your flat iron purchase – not to be confused with a round iron used for lace and frills.
    I grew up on a Queensland (Australia) sheep station (ranch) in the 1940s. There was no electricity but mother believed standards should be maintained. Everything was ironed and starched where appropriate, which brings me to the irons. We had a set of three irons that were heated in rotation on the kitchen stove top. The one in use was rested on a trivet as items were rotated or folded in the ironing process. Skill and experience was required when using these beasts as scorching was a regular feature. All of the fabrics were natural – linen, cotton and wool mostly, Mother had a silk dress..If the cotton or linen was scorched it was dabbed with lemon juice and put in direct sunlight to bleach. Woollen items required a damp cloth to placed beneath the iron to prevent scorching. As a child I learned to iron on handkerchiefs and tea towels, much lemon juice and sunlight was required.
    I still have one of the original set which I use as an excellent door stop. I also still iron every thing nothing beats crisply ironed, thick white pure cotton sheets but I love my lightweight temperature controlled modern appliance.
    Love your sewing journey, which also stirs so many memories – hand stitching and treadle machines. The current sewing machine is electric but all seam finishes, buttonholes etc are done by hand.
    All the best always – Kaye

  19. I managed to get a yard of sea green vintage velvet ribbon for $5 at a flea market. I think it’s from the 1950s.

  20. I’ve been thinking about making a blog for months, and I think I’m finally gonna pull the plug… thanks for the Squarespace add ?

  21. Fangirling about history is the best pastime ever!! This actually makes me want to visit New York! Skyscrapers be damned – flee markets yes please!!!

  22. I startered my sewing journey with a thimbles that my mother didn’t use. It was to big so i crush it a tiny bit in an oval shape for me to use it .
    I am still looking for one in my size XD.

  23. I wonder if an induction hot plate might do well to heat the old iron evenly to a good temperature without having too many fire hazards sitting about amongst the fabrics? Induction hotplates stay (comparatively) cool on the surface, heat incredibly quickly, and work very well with cast iron- pans, at least.

    Sadly, they may be a bit prohibitively expensive…

  24. ?✂️so, enjoy your videos. Don’t forget to wrap your new iron handle to protect your hand and you will need pressing cloths . Cheers?

  25. A Bernadette video! On THRIFTING!!! le swoon
    That was fun, even though I must admit I wasn't expecting those city guides. Seeing you so thrilled, could I suggest looking for antique fashion magazines next time? I'm sure you would get an absolute kick out of those. I have an entire bookshelf of Mode Illustrée and the like, and they're an endless source of delight!
    PS: From Cesario action scene, I am guessing this was a very good tomato!

  26. OMG what if you did a vlog around the city using the 1890s guide dressed in 1890s garb?! In, like, autumn of course…because sun.

  27. You love where I live. We have So many 19th century antique malls. Yes there big enough to call malls, as we are the “First City” Of Kansas.
    Sooo many lovely things!
    I love you Bernadette!
    A Dorothy In Kansas
    A Freak In Red Mary Janes

  28. 7:23 Except for the cheese/butter slicer, this was a familiar sight in my home. My Grandmother – who crocheted constantly – had boxes of Clark's mercerized cotton in brilliant pristine white. 'Mercerized' was one of the first big words I learned to spell, even if I was ignorant of its meaning.

  29. I had a gal at a quilt shop look at my finger and call out the size… shockingly she was correct. I'm still learning to enjoy and be quick with it yet.

  30. I love this. I love old stuff too! I recently acquired a French-Latin-German dictionary from the early 18th century. It didn't cost anything as it was property of a member of my family and she kindly gave it to me. I don't understand a word of it but I enjoy just looking at it and being fascinated that I own a piece of history, a book soo old. I will be learning French during the next schoolyear, so probably soon I will be able to understand at least part of the book 😀

  31. I still have my very first thimble (Size 2) given to me by my grandmother who started teaching me to hand-sew at the tender age of four!

  32. My college computer class was making punch card decks. one missed period in a 100 card deck would crash your program.

  33. You should try to find a proper iron rest for your iron. I am fortunate to have one with a rest from turn of the century (it was my great grandmothers). I use in my laundry room as a decor element. My rest is prettier than my iron ☺️

  34. My moms best friend fitted wedding dresses. of course it's weeks before the day. but the brides neglected to tell her they were pregnant. a rush refit then was needed the week before.

  35. If you are ever in TN we would love to take you to Bell Buckle. It's an antiquing town. The general store there is amazing! It has the 1800s old stock on display from when the building was purchased. Some stuff is pricey but you can find great deals too!

  36. If you are ever in TN we would love to take you to Bell Buckle. It's an antiquing town. The general store there is amazing! It has the 1800s old stock on display from when the building was purchased. Some stuff is pricey but you can find great deals too!

  37. Please tell me you bought some of those lovely fresh currants!

    Now you've got me trawling the web for antique markets in the Philadelphia area…

  38. Love love love that walking skirt! Those irons are common here where I live. They’re most often used as decorations or as doorstops. If you intend to use it as an actual iron, hearing it up will be a challenge. Keep in mind it’s made of cast iron, so it will retain heat. Be careful with your fine, delicate fabrics.

  39. I've had that exact historical SQUEE reaction where similar street guides and almanac are concerned here in Dublin. 😀 It's so cool and reality brings the fashion history of a place to life! A poor replacement for a time machine, but until they exist… 🙂

  40. Loved this and loved your haul! I just read An American Princess: The many lives of Allene Tew. She lived in NYC during the time of your newly acquired books! It references many buildings and homes in NYC which Allene either owned or visited socially, and lists which are and aren’t still standing at the time the book was written in 1988. It would be very interesting to see if any are featured in your guide books! It’s an interesting read, you should add it to your pile.

  41. Maybe with all your future knowledge you can be a NY tour guide for vintage clothes lovers. Perfect job for an introvert.

  42. I very much understand your excitement about old city guides: I've accidentally found an ad for tailors in my city looking through an old journal and now I'm planning a trip to the spot (good chance the building is still there)

  43. haha "a heat intolerant vampire like me" …that I am, and so ready for Autumn! I have an iron very similar, if not exactly, like yours. It has been passed down through a few generations. I don't use it, but I proudly display it in my sewing room. Also, Cesario is absolutely adorable! ?

  44. Thank you for noting that markets like that change every week, that's half the fun. Have you considered using a sun parasol? It might help with the heat. Though I realize it would be another thing to carry- I wonder if one could be rigged to hook to a belt? You know historical ladies would have figured out something like that, even if they didn't allow themselves to be photographed with it.

    Also hello Cesario! Adorable as ever. I am a certified cat person, but the noises he makes are just fantastic. Thanks for letting us say hi to him.

  45. I would get equally excited about these city guides. “Seeing history” is one of the coolest things to me, thats why i just lose my mind visiting even the least visible and most destroyed ruins, because if theres even one tile intact ill be screaming internally at how 1000 years ago Romans walked on the tile im walking on right now.

  46. Dude the iron also makes a good weapon should someone be foolish to break in. 😀 Those books are really cool!!! Now that would be a fun weekend! I don't know if I could do that much walking but so cool!!!

  47. I love looking at old stuff! I recently found a 6 volume set of Shakespeare c.1896 and got it for my sister for Christmas

  48. The markets look like a lot of fun to walk around and I would have spent a good while looking at the subway mosaics too! My grandparents had an iron like that, but it had been regulated to a door stop by the time I lived with them. lol. I always wondered how difficult they were to use though. I'd probably just injure myself…

  49. My dad likes to got to a small town where I'm from called Aurora, and it's full of antique shopes. He never brings me anymore, and that makes me sad. But seeing you be happy about old things makes my predicament just a little better.

  50. Old metal thimbles are sometimes misshapen because they were custom shaped to fit, by the user. That is the practicality of a nice metal thimble. Love your treasure hunt!

  51. If your iron is cast iron couldn't you use an induction cook top? It's fire safe because it's magnetic and not heat-based. You can get single burners at IKEA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *