Best for antiques: The Antiques Garage and GreenFlea Market



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  • GreenFlea Market

  • The Antiques Garage

  • Suraj International at the GreenFlea Market

  • The Antiques Garage

  • The Antiques Garage

GreenFlea Market

The Antiques Garage | GreenFlea Market

1. Not just any old thing
More than 100 vendors fill the bi-level Antiques Garage, which has been around in various forms since the 1960s. The wares are strictly vintage—no crafts or food fillers—and the vendors are passionate about their merchandise. “People here are very knowledgeable about antiques,” says director of operations Michael Santulli. “They’re all great characters. You never know what you’re going to find.”

2. Dress in layers
Depending on the time of year, prepare to sweat or freeze: Even though the Antiques Garage is indoors, it isn’t air-conditioned in the summer or heated in the winter. (During the week, the space functions as a working garage.)

3. Polaroid is back
Pennsylvania dealer and occasional vendor John Hughes sells old baseball mitts ($15--$30) and glassware ($5--$40), but the real gem of his booth is a bookcase crammed with antique cameras (from $10), including several Polaroids. “If you can get the film, they still work!” he declares.

4. Dirt-cheap designer duds
Former criminal defense attorney Susan Bergin of Pocketbook spends her retirement hunting for vintage clothing at secondhand stores; the recent fruits of her labor include a cherry-colored shirt dress by Carolina Herrera ($75), a black linen Givenchy sheath ($65) and a slinky red Y-Yigal number from the 1990s ($65). Bergin doesn’t limit her selection to brand names, though: “I have a lot of things by unknown designers, too,” she says. “As long as they have an interesting fabric and cut.” You’ll find her smack in the middle of the downstairs vendors.
TONY deal: Mention TONY for 20 percent off all purchases through July 31.

5. $75 YSL earrings!
Don’t be deterred by the creepy-looking doll wigs ($10--$30) or antique Barbies ($35 and up): Ben Cassara and Joe Bucchi, the partners behind Fourty Fifty Sixty (, couldn’t be friendlier—they’ll even let you try on any of their vintage designer jewelry. Amazingly enough, it’s all within reach: A pair of blood-red Art Deco--inspired YSL earrings is $75, a Trifari choker from the 1940s is tagged $45 and a gold bracelet with lacquered seashells will run you $65. Their adorable Westie, Chandler, is worth the trip to the table alone.

6. Take a piece of Africa home
Mali-born Mamadou Diop presides over hundreds of African masks and sculptures crowded into a corner of the garage’s bottom floor. Among the items he acquires on buying trips “all over Africa” two to three times a year: a bronze statue from Ethiopia ($100) and a 13-inch-tall carved wooden figure from the Ivory Coast ($150).

7. There are holy linens!
Long Islander Kay Mertens has collected vintage textiles for more than 40 years, and her booth, Kay Mertens Vintage Textiles, is swathed with silk brocades ($10--$1,000) and crisp cotton pillowcases ($10 per pair). The highlight of her stall are ecclesiastical garments, like an 18th-century altar mantle made of blue silk damask ($750). If God’s linens are out of your price range, opt for Mertens’s beautiful lace, such as a silk panel from the 1920s ($25).

8. ...and mysterious skulls!
At the aptly named Atypicalfind, Stratford, Connecticut, antiques collector Travis Worrell sells everything from $15 old deer skulls to a chrome table lamp from the 1970s ($150). He and his wife comb through estate sales for eclectic wares—the more unusual, the better—though you’ll also spot tamer items like a Danish modern teak wood chair ($150).

9. Join a mini literary salon
Arby Rolband’s vintage prints, books and maps garner their own fair share of attention from market browsers, but his Hobbit Rare Books booth also attracts folks who gather each weekend to converse about literary matters and snack on his wife’s zucchini bread and oatmeal-raisin cookies ($1 each). The collector sells mostly antique architectural prints of Roman facades (for as cheap as $5), and rare hand-colored engraving prints by Robert John Thornton and Amos Doolittle, which can fetch upwards of $2,000.

10. Shopping imitates art
“I don’t really have a focus, but I have a very specific taste,” explains Janet West, whose well-organized booth will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a life-size Joseph Cornell diorama, with seashells ($5--$25) sitting neatly next to a 19th century framed set of six hand-colored prints of seaweed ($275).

Postflea: There aren’t any food vendors at the Garage, but the Blue Dog Caf (101 W 25th St at Sixth Ave, 212-229-9222) across the street offers salads, omelettes and sandwiches made from fresh Greenmarket ingredients. We’re partial to the brick-size double-chocolate brownie ($3.25) baked daily on the premises—ask the staff to heat it up for a fudgy indulgence.

The Antiques Garage, 112 W 25th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves ( Year-round. Sat, Sun 9am--5pm.

—Charlotte Cowles

The Antiques Garage | GreenFlea Market

NEXT Best for jewelry and accessories: East 67th Street Market and Artists & Fleas

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It’s flea market season in NYC—go hunting for vintage and designer treasures so good, you won’t miss the air-conditioning.

The Antiques Garage | GreenFlea Market

1. Get a brand-new (vintage) bag
Some say you can judge a lady by her purse. If you subscribe to this theory, visit Lauren and Felise Baruch, who exclusively collects chic vintage mesh bags by Whiting & Davis, an American company founded in 1876. A small gold tote with an Art Deco crystal clasp goes for $75 (Baruch says she’d do $65), while a rectangular aluminum pocketbook in cream sells for $70. Though both hail from the 1940s, a look inside reveals a salmon-colored silk lining in mint condition. “If it doesn’t have the lining, it’s just another crappy bag,” Baruch says.

2. Everything is illuminated
Small crystal chandeliers from the 1930s through the 1950s hang from the tent of Latif Mecikukic, whose lighting and antiques company, Lightning Colors (718-847-0408,, is based in Kew Gardens, Queens. Each chandelier hails from Italy, Austria or Portugal and ranges in price from $200 to $1,800. While some are classic in design, with twinkling crystals dangling from ornate brass bases, others have been painted white for a shabby-chic look.

3. Hold NYC history in your hands
While you’re at the GreenFlea, don’t miss a chance to chat with Scott Jordan of New York Artifact Art (718-956-6758,, who has spent the past 40 years excavating bottles from sites throughout the city (you’ll recognize him by his top hat). Among his ever-changing haul: an 1895 emerald-green container for smelling salts that was found in the site of a former landfill in Woodlawn, Bronx ($45) and a thin-lipped, aquamarine container for bear oil, used in the 1860s to slick back hair and moisturize scalps ($30). Jordan discovered the latter in an old well in the backyard of a Hoyt Street row house in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

4. Wear NYC history around your neck
Jordan’s business partner, Dolhathai “Pooh” Srijamcharoen (, runs the next table, neatly covered with pendants shaped from excavated pottery. One porcelain bauble from the 1890s, which was buried for decades at the intersection of Eckford Street and Engert Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, bears an image of a wooden ship at sea ($50). Another necklace is made with a shard of a 1780s mug found on the corner of Front and Water Streets ($40).

5. See yourself in NYC history
Olde Good Things (212-989-8401,, a company that features antiques but also makes furniture out of material salvaged from historic buildings, lugs its eclectic mirrors to the flea each week. Admire your reflection in a specimen framed by old door moldings from the Plaza Hotel ($950) or another outlined by an oxidized blue patchwork of copper from the Philadelphia Civic Center roof ($850). If you can’t look yourself in the eyes after spending that much dough, check out the 16-by-22-inch mirrors made of tiles cut from ornate tin roofs ($140).
TONY deal: Mention TONY to get 10 percent off tin ceiling mirrors through August 31.

6. Buy some cold, hard cash
You can spend a pretty penny on ancient currency and wear it: Suraj Joshi, of family-run Indian handicrafts retailer Suraj International (718-357-6155), has transformed coins from all over the world into pendants. His creations range from English sterling issued during the 16th-century reign of Henry VIII ($1,000), set in a circle of gold, to weather-beaten bronze and copper Roman coins from A.D. 300, encircled in sterling silver ($22).
TONY deal: Mention TONY to get 20 percent off all purchases through August 15.

7. Invest in affordable, illustrated art
After baking on the concrete, head into the school cafeteria, and keep an eye out for Phyllis Newman peddling pages cut from 18th- and 19th-century nature encyclopedias and anatomy books. “This is affordable art,” says Newman. Snag her affordable prints and frame them to fill your walls, without blowing your bank account on gallery finds. A lithograph of monstrous hybrids—lizardlike bats and beaked fish—goes for $125 (“the weirder the better,” laughs Newman), but true steals can be found by flipping through the bins and stacks: hand-painted 19th-century studies of Greek pottery, ring-necked pheasants and teeth-bearing boars start at $10 to $20.

8. Find deals at the end of the day
Scout goods earlier in the day then return at 5pm to scoop up bargains—particularly from those carrying the largest load. “The thought of dragging big pieces of furniture back to where you live is a lot less appealing than leaving it here,” says Judy Gehrke, executive director of the Greenflea. Keep an eye out for Rhode Island--based antique furniture and rug vendor Rodger Lefebvre (401-447-9183), who is known to take 15 to 20 percent off his wares. Can’t wait around? There are other options: “Come on rainy days,” advises Olde Good Things’ Andrew Pereirra, who will knock off as much as 20 percent.
TONY deal: Mention TONY to get up to 30 percent off a purchase through July 30.

Postflea: While Greenmarket once set up shop at the GreenFlea entrance, it recently moved across the street. It currently hosts 20 to 30 vendors and is the third-largest of its kind in NYC. Stop by the Kernan Farms stand to pick up succulent peaches ($2.80/lb), and Not Just Ruguleh for cinnamon-and-raisin-stuffed cookies ($8/lb) that are “legendary,” according to Gehrke. “There’s always a line for them,” she says.

GreenFlea Market, Columbus Ave between 76th and 77th Sts (212-239-3025, April--October. Sun 10am--6pm. November--March: Sun 10am--5:30pm.

—Audrey Tempelsman

The Antiques Garage | GreenFlea Market

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