FORT GREENE — Hipness has its price.
At the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, that’d be $30 for a rusty tin bucket and $4 for an iced tea.
I must admit, though, the bucket did have a nice patina and the fuzzy peach flavor in the tea was delightful thanks to fruit imported all the way from Japan.
So it came as no surprise that on a recent bargain-hunting expedition with just $40 in my pocket, I didn’t find much to fill my bag — or belly.
But the few gems I did buy were pretty sweet. And I will certainly revisit several standout vendors, including these stylish and affordable picks for vintage lighting, furniture, wall art and housewares.
It's important to note that not all vendors set up shop every weekend, and some alternate between Fort Greene on Saturday and the Flea in Williamsburg on Sunday.
Check the vendor layout, which is posted here the preceding Friday at noon, and plan your trip accordingly. Happy shopping!
Millie moved, so now it’s just Corina. But no worries. This estate sale shopper and furniture-fixer-upper holds her own.
Some of my favorite pieces in Corina Gomez’s booth were a pair of tufted white patent vinyl lounge chairs for a very reasonable $375, a sculptural teak salad bowl for $20, and a 1970s marble-topped buffet cabinet for $200.
With big carved flowers on the doors and boomerang legs, the cabinet was edging towards overwrought.
But Corina balanced the look with a Hollywood Regency-style paint job in a glamorous silvery gray. If I’d had my car and checkbook, I definitely would have scooped it up.
New York Vintage Lighting
Owners Montgomari Parsons and Paul Pisanelli do period lighting, but with a twist.
Many of the fixtures displayed in their booth look like antique originals, but upon closer inspection, they’re revealed as artistic amalgams of new, old, and repurposed parts.
One chandelier was made from a marbled glass ashtray stand from the 1920s. An adjustable pharmacy-style floor lamp was assembled with copper tubing from the hardware store for a gritty industrial look.
Prices range from $75 for a diminutive desk light and $225 for a floor lamp to $700 for a whimsical chandelier.
Parsons and Pisanelli also do a robust trade in custom pieces. So if you don’t find what you’re looking for, they’ll make it for you in their upstate New York workshop.
Vintage handbags and hats are the draw at Gerri Riedman’s booth.
But of more interest to me was her hard-to-find, and well-priced, collection of vintage kitchenware.
Among the most unusual was a Proctor Silex two-chamber vacuum-type coffee maker with a hand-blown glass body and solid brass fittings. A scientist from California bought it for just $30.
My shopping partner, Kristine, scored a covered glass cheese preserver dish from the 1940s for $10. Similar dishes, which have a reservoir in the bottom for a vinegar-and-water mixture that’s supposed to keep cheese moist, sell for about $40 on eBay.
And for a mere $12, I got a gorgeous marigold color glass pitcher painted with a white plumage design. Made in the 1950s from thick iridescent carnival glass, it’ll be a sturdy and stylish additional to my dinner table.
Rebecca Rubel has been selling at the Flea for six years now. And while she considers herself more of a generalist in the antiques world, she certainly has an expertise in botanical drawings, educational charts, maps, and other cool — and creepy — prints, such as vintage anatomy posters and shooting targets of cute bunnies marked with bullseyes.
Prices range from $10 for a target to $200 or more for a hanging biology-class chart.
Rubel also has a nice assortment of utilitarian goods, including blue Ball jars with zinc lids, enameled pitchers and pots, and old wooden fruit crates. Her collection is vast and revolving, so you likely won’t see the same items from one week to the next.