Brooklyn Flea: Planning Your Visit

Brooklyn Flea

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Brooklyn Flea

Address
80 Pearl St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Phone +1 718-928-6603

Brooklyn Flea is a movable feast. Considered one of the best urban experiences in New York, this open-air flea market isn't your typical shopping encounter. This Brooklyn institution features hundreds of vendors selling furniture, vintage clothing, antiques, a curated selection of jewelry and art, and deliciously fresh food. Brooklyn Flea operates in four different locations, allowing you to enjoy its splendor year-round, and operates the all-food market Smorgasburg in several places, too. A trip to Brooklyn Flea is always refreshing and inspiring, as you're bound to leave the market with a treasure trove of goods and a full belly, to boot.

History

In 2008, journalists Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby saw a growing trend for artisanal goods and great food during the gentrification of the Brooklyn borough. They created Brooklyn Flea, which started in a schoolyard in Fort Greene as a hub for the newly homespun energy and a one-stop shopping experience for both residents and tourists. The market runs every weekend, and while it once featured curated vendors specifically from Brooklyn, it now hosts vendors from Manhattan, as well.

As the large flea market grew, it expanded to four locations, including Hester Flea and Chelsea Flea, and spawned a satellite food market called Smorgasburg, which was started in 2011 as a nod to the borough's artisan food scene and grew to include sites at the World Trade Center on Fridays, in Jersey City and Williamsburg on Saturdays, and at Prospect Park's Breeze Hill on Sundays. With over 100 curated chefs, Smorgasburg is no longer an aside to the busy flea market. It's a destination for worldwide travelers to taste the best flavors of New York (and Los Angeles, which has a downtown location open on Sundays).

What to Buy

You can easily fill an afternoon perusing the aisles at Brooklyn Flea, searching through the many collectibles and vintage items. Both handmade and vintage jewelers are carefully selected to sell their goods at the Flea. You can also find unique housewares, handcrafted works of art, rugs, and antiques. Pop into a booth selling one-of-a-kind footwear or peruse racks of repurposed vintage clothing styles. Handmade leather bags and goods can be found at the market, alongside printed tea towels and candles. After you're done shopping, grab a snack at one of the market's food stands or at Smorgasburg.

Popular Vendors

Approximately 100 vendors occupy stalls at Brooklyn Flea, selling everything from wall art to Swedish-made handcrafted clogs. For vintage goods and iconic collectibles, stop by Rascal Salvage Vintage, which stocks items like old records, vintage toys, and art deco furniture pieces. Along the same lines, Thea Grant Designs sells vintage and custom jewelry and accessories. Check out her selection of lockets, as well as her engraved bar necklaces. Windsor Place Antiques sells vintage home goods, like holiday decorations and ornaments, alongside vintage posters. Pick up some retouched and embroidered vintage clothing at American Butt Clothing or Hook and Ladder Vintage. And, Nina Z is where you'll grab those handmade clogs. Some vendors only take cash, so be prepared before you shop.

What to Eat & Drink

The Flea itself offers a handful of food vendors to curb your cravings while you shop, but the true foodies flock to Smorgasburg, with over 35 food purveyors at each site. If you find yourself in need of a cool-down, stop by People’s Pops for a craft popsicle made with whole fruit and simple ingredients. Grab a lobster roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound, where the lobsters come fresh from Maine and the roll options include "The Classic" (lobster salad and mayo), "The Connecticut" (lobster straight up, with butter), and a lobster BLT. Porchetta serves roasted pork sandwiches and Pizza Motto serves pies from their mobile woodfired brick oven. Other treats can be had at Nana's (try her frozen chocolate-covered bananas), wholesale shellfish vendor Brooklyn Oyster Party, and Blue Bottle Coffee, offering drip coffee as well as roasted beans to take home.

Visiting Brooklyn Flea

A stop at Brooklyn Flea always makes a memorable weekend outing, but before you venture out, decide which location you will visit and make sure it's open before you go.

  • Locations: The Flea takes place in Williamsburg on Saturdays, as well as underneath the Manhattan Bridge arch in DUMBO on Sundays. You can also visit Hester Flea on Saturdays and Chelsea Flea and Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Hours: Brooklyn Flea is open year-round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Williamsburg and DUMBO, and seasonally in Hester (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Chelsea (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
  • Facilities: Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg is located in a fenced-in lot at 51 North 6th St. and Kent Avenue. The DUMBO location takes place in the center of DUMBO underneath the Manhattan Bridge arch. After you've finished shopping, you can head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for stunning views of Lower Manhattan. Hester Flea is located on the Lower East Side, in the space previously occupied by the Hester Street Fair. And, you can find Chelsea Flea at 29 West 25th St., between Sixth Avenue and Broadway.

Getting There

Brooklyn Flea's various locations are easy to get to via subway, as certain train lines stop nearby, making the walk consist of only a few blocks at the most. You can also ride your bike or grab a bike from CitiBikes with nearby dropoff kiosks.

  • From Brooklyn: Take the C train to High Street, exit and then turn left, and walk down the hill toward the East River. You can also take the A train to Jay Street, walk to the MetroTech Center, and then hop on the F train to York Street for a three-minute walk to the Flea.
  • From Manhattan: Take the A or C train to High Street, and follow the same walking directions as above. You can also take the 2 or 3 train to Clark Street and exit the subway station on Henry Street. Take a left, and then another left onto Cadman Plaza West/Old Fulton Street, and walk down the hill. The F train to York Street will also get you there.
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The Complete Guide to the Brooklyn Flea