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A vintage lover’s guide to New York flea markets

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It’s one thing to walk into Saks Fifth Avenue or Jeffrey New York and peruse the aisles of chic, season-specific apparel. It’s quite another to make the rounds through the vintage destinations of popular New York flea markets across the city. From fabled outdoor markets to upscale consignment stores and swish second-hand boutiques, there are innumerable opportunities to unearth style treasures in New York City.

Start with some choice vintage clothing, fine antique furniture, and artisan goods at the trio of Brooklyn-based al fresco markets known as the Brooklyn Flea Market. They operate every weekend (either Saturday or Sunday) from morning until late afternoon and provide a placid view of city life in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is also home to a host of prime vintage shops. Antoinette specializes in handpicked, high-end clothing and accessories from the 1950s. Rabbits has lots of unique goods sourced from Asia and Europe. 10 ft. Single by Stella Dallas displays a (dare we say) stellar collection of throwback casual wear. And cool-kid consignment store Beacon’s Closet has a constantly evolving selection of garments, straight from the kids who created “hipster style.”

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Back in Manhattan, vintage markets run the gamut from wacky to tiresome to diamond-flecked and divine. Arguably our favourite is the boisterous bazaar Artists & Fleas, which opened up a permanent location inside Chelsea Market in 2014. Here, the city’s finest vintage purveyors – as well as indie designers and artisans – peddle their wares to enthusiastic crowds, while close-by is the Chelsea Flea Market, which has delighted hunters and peckers for two decades with its bargains and hard-to-find pieces. The al fresco Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market has also been a destination for local shoppers and collectors for many years.

After you’ve tired of elbowing your way through the crowds, head to one of Downtown’s top-shelf consignment shops. Fisch for the Hip has exquisite, beautifully maintained finery from designers like Chanel, Balenciaga, Chloe, Manolos and Loubies, Tom Ford and more. Nearby, Ina Chelsea – one of five Ina locations scattered throughout downtown – caters to an upper crust clientele with their top-shelf garments of yesteryear.

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As for the many more vintage purveyors of Downtown NYC, here are a few more of our favourites:

Community 54 is way Beastie Boys with its dude-centric streetwear (choice caps, sports apparel) set against throw-back arcade games.

What Goes Around Comes Around is a vintage hunter’s dream, with room after room of eye-popping vintage for men and women. Prominent fashion designers have been known to raid their storage area and pilfer ideas.

The Euro-dandy racks at East Village mainstay Rue St. Denis are flecked with many fab finds.

Amarcord Vintage offers a regularly changing, well-edited assortment of women’s finds from the 1940’s-on.

Written by Andrew Stone

Image credits:

Clocks at an antiques market © iStock: claudiarndt

Flea market © iStock: ilbusca

Vintage women's accessories © iStock: anzeletti

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