Treasure Trove

Laura Kusnyer

A table is just a table, but a table crafted from recycled bowling lanes is a different story. Since its birth last April, Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene has drawn consistently large crowds of Fleasters—as they’re referred to on the market’s blog—seeking simultaneously one-of-a-kind and high-quality goods that range from expected flea market wares to the altogether kooky (such as faux potted plants made entirely of yarn). Art deco martini shakers and lamps, vintage chairs reupholstered with modern fabrics, vintage postcards of NYC iconography and crates of $1 records are just some of items bringing in crowds.

As dedicated market-goers brace themselves for the Flea’s last hoorah of the year on December 21, cofounder and curator Eric Demby hints that there are a few treats in store. First, in honor of the rapidly approaching holidays, the Flea is transforming its weekly Sunday showcase into a seasonal market—called "Gifted: A Holiday Market" and housed across the street from the Flea at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple—starting November 30. That means more vintage items such as jewelry and small antiques that “would be logical as gifts,” he explains, along with an array of gift cookies, coffees and chocolates.

The holiday goodies are in addition to the local munchies that pepper 176 Lafayette Avenue every Sunday—like Demby’s favorite: fresh cannoli made with Brooklyn’s own Salvatore Ricotta cheese. “Those are insanely good,” he raves. Red Hook vendors have also set up shop at the market and are treating Fleasters to authentic Latin American fare like elote (grilled corn doused in butter, salt and spicy fixings), while a mobile brick-oven pizzeria satisfies visitors’ Italian cravings.

He also shared some big news about the future of the Flea. On January 10, Demby and partner Jonathan Butler are opening an indoor pop-up market that will run on weekends through March 29 in the vacant storefront of 76 Front Street in DUMBO.

And even though the Flea is expanding into 2009, consider these next few weeks of Brooklyn Flea a chance to knock out a substantial portion of that holiday shopping list. Demby suggests vintage picture frames as gifts: “You can get really nice ones, but I kind of like the ones that are really roughed up that [cost] like 10 bucks.” And even if a yarn plant isn’t at the top of your list, you never know who might fancy it. “The whole thing with the Flea is that it’s curated,” he continues. “It’s all stuff that you wouldn’t find somewhere else, and it’s all somehow interesting and, from my perspective, good.”