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February 04, 2008



does anyone here know about the show Junkin' that used to be on Turner South cable? I guess it was a regional thing. Dave Byrd and Val Meyers would travel to flea markets and buy things to sell on ebay, as well as talk to the local yokels. it was painfully beautiful to watch Dave and Val's wit fly right over the heads of the podunks. They never really insulted anybody, but it was painful all the same. It won an emmy and then Turner south went Kaput.

god i miss that show.


i work at the garage flea market on 25th btwn 6th-7th, and watched the demise of the outdoor market on 6th ave a few years ago with much sadness. apparently the garage has been bought and is going to be knocked down sometime in the future. my boss talks a lot about how the antique business is dead and it's unfortunately too true. in 20 years the last people with legitimate enthusiasm for the antique(rather than the vintage) will have disappeared.

The Original Larry

Up here in the Pacific Northwest (betwixt Bellingham, Seattle and Tacoma), we have lots of GREAT flea markets up here. But somehow, the East coast ones ALWAYS rival OURS...


Listener James from Westwood

There's a monthly flea market in the Westwood park during the warm seasons. My big find there was a $10 Smith-Corona portable typewriter. Still fully functional. I feel like I rescued it from some horrible fate; most of its kin are probably staving off beach erosion as part of an artificial reef off the Eastern Seaboard.


I can't imagine flea markets or similar venues would become extinct. People will get over the cult of the new that has accompanied the culture of purchasing consumer items for the last 15 or so years. There's got to be an outlet for people doing circuit bending and other kinds of hardware hacking. After years of deskilling and outsourcing, people with skills and knowledge or access to goods will be looking for a market either to makes ends meet or just to keep themselves sane. Short of teleportation, shopping on line is basically the business of jpegs at the speed of UPS. As for artificial distinctions made between antiques, vintage, collectible, etc. - neither an antique nor a vintage chairs are, in terms of functionality, likely to become obsolete anytime soon. Similar outlets for goods will come into existence.

Dale Hazelton

Sweet! I've been a flea market/Goodwill/Salvay/stoop-yard sale junkie for almost 30 years. And as I look around my kitchen while sipping coffee just about everything came second or third or fourth hand. Even the old cast iron kitchen sink, the kind where the water comes out of the tall splash, came from my local scrap metal yard (as well as the clawfoot tub upstairs). My kitchen cupboards are an old Napanee Hoosier-type cabinet (yard sale) and an old maple possum-belly bakers cabinet (my dads garage work bench, since refinished in shellac by me. The table lamp is made from an old Mirro percolator with a blown heating element. I have a shelf unit full of old Griswold griddles, skillets and waffle makers as I went through a fast phase of buying the old iron. The only things not old are the refrigerator and stove, but I started out with a 40's Westinghouse fridge (too small for my wife and required constant defrosting) and I had a 1930s Magic Chef six-burner range from a junk shop that needed restoration and parts, and after 10 years it was apparant I wasn't going to get it refurbished/insulated so I resold it for a bit of profit. On top of the Napanee is a box of a gross of canning jar rubbers from the 1930s that I got at the Salvation army in Jersey City. I planned on Dutch auctioning them on ebay, but they look too nice there. My wife said she doesn't want to live in a museum, but I point out the prices of things in shops and let her know when I die that all that stuff will bring a tidy sum.

I've always wanted to do that longest yard sale thingy....


...but it's always either the time or money that becomes an issue. Never did Brimfield and I don't think I'd want to pay the prices anyway. There used to be a couple of nice small markets on Canal Street in the 80s, when Art Deco and midcentury modern stuff, along with vintage clothing, was big. One of the best flea markets I've ever been to was the one in Pasadena - quality stuff, but prices to match (I guess for the Hollywood stylist trade).

I did some selling at a market only once, in Brooklyn on 7th avenue at a school yard. You have to be thick skinned to ward off the insulting low-ball offers. What makes it worse is those people tend to insult your merchandise if you don't accept their "generosity."

Now Craigslist is the repository for free/cheap stuff (ebay/paypal fees are getting out of hand) and curb alerts. But I miss taking a walk after dinner with my lady on a warm summer night before the morning of bulk collection pickup looking for old furniture, tube radio sets and Electrolux tank vaccuums. How romantic.....


i just bought a truck primarily for dumpster diving and carrying what i couldn't on my scooter.
i'd whizz past so much good furniture and lumber it was driving me insane.
of course now that i have the truck, i see nothing, or maybe miss the things i'd notice at the scooters pace and level.

as long as dumbasses throw away perfectly good stuff, or things that require a nail to fix,there will be crafty people taking it and reselling it.
the downside is, as we become more and more of a disposable society, there really is less and less stuff that is salvagable. stuff just isn't made with much quality or craftsmanship..


There is a new, much talked about, flea opening in fort green brooklyn come april! Be hardy my fellow travelers. But I do agree the demise of the 6th street flea (some of the dealers de-camped to the hell's kitchen sunday sale, but it lacks the street traffic) is one of the bleakest moments in contemporary NY's real estate orgy.


Folks know that the Barnes & Noble in Chelsea is also closing. I understand the Astor Place store to be already gone.


It seems like in the last 5 - 6 years the flea markets have been getting pretty depleted, or at least changing drastically-- fewer old pieces of treasure, more crappy Chinese imports and slave-labor bootleg MLB hats.

And I know what's causing it-- ebay and The Antiques Roadshow. I have actually heard flea-marketeers use ebay and The Antiques Roadshow as justification for their prices : "I won't take less than 80 bucks, cause I saw one just like it on Antiques Roadshow." I even saw a guy with an ebay printout, showing the same model bass guitar selling on ebay for $150, so naturally he wanted $150 for his (ignoring the fact that the printout he had was for a NEW bass, from a chain store, and his bass was used).

Dale Hazelton

Yeah, the irony of collecting stuff from the 70's, 80's and 90's is lost on me because most of the stuff is so poorly made or plain ugly. Except for electronics I can't really pinpoint anything else I'd want from the era except maybe certain vehicles (cars are a whole different thing -- I just sold my 85 Cadillac Fleetwood that hasn't run in 6 years and had a creamed front end to a guy who fell in love with it and promised it'd be back on the road soon. I have sellers remorse, bigtime).

Whatever happened to all that "Memphis Style" furniture that was huge in the 80's? I never see it in shops or on the street- has it maintained it's value?


The last comment by illlich struck a chord:
"collecting stuff from the 70's, 80's and 90's is lost on me because most of the stuff is so poorly made or plain ugly."
The poor quality manufacturing (design and engineering) means most of this stuff won't have a life beyond it's initial purchase. People are not spending on things that last. You rarely see older ikea stuff second hand because it self-destructs.

ebay skip mcgrath

Flea markets are probably my least favorite place to find stuff to sell on ebay, but last month I did find a set of 10 Folk music CDs in perfect condition for $10. sold them on eBay for $165

peter kenneth

Flea markets are incredible , i love them

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