Best for bargains: West 25th Street Market and Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market

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  • West 25th Street Market

  • West 25th Street Market

West 25th Street Market


West 25th Street Market | Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market

1. The Annex lives on
What began as the Annex Antiques Fair & Flea Market on Sixth Avenue in 1976 has splintered into three separate sister markets (thanks to residential developments in Chelsea), creating a powerful flea trifecta: the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, the Antiques Garage and this year-round affair held in an unassuming parking lot next door to a Serbian Orthodox church.

2. Late risers FTW
“In the old days, when antiques were all the rage, people would come as early as 4am with flashlights and shop as the goods were being unloaded,” says founder Alan Boss, who counts Susan Sontag and Andy Warhol as onetime regulars. Nowadays, early birds may still get to sift through the widest selection, but it’s the 4 and 5pm shoppers who end up with the best deals: Vendors are more likely to settle for lower prices than haul merchandise to storage for the week.

3. The time to go
In their heyday, flea markets were Sunday-only events. While the rules of operation have changed, many of the most experienced—and higher-end—vendors still abide by the tradition and show their wares only on Sundays. Sure, you may be browsing alongside more bargain hunters, but the quality of merchandise makes putting up with the additional foot traffic well worth it.

4. Jewelry to get your heart thumping
Chances are good that if you like one thing on longtimer Shirley Espriel’s neatly jam-packed tables of gemstone bracelets, necklaces and sterling silver jewelry (mostly $20–$50), you’ll like it all. Whereas some vendors take a holistic approach to gathering goodies, this 20-year collector buys only those that give her “a thump” in her heart. She scours estate sales and auctions around the country to stock her front-and-center location (booth No. 100) on Sundays; recently spotted dazzlers include a silver bracelet with some light-blue stones ($40).

5. Crowd-pleasing bric-a-brac
Forest Hills resident Gloria Bush, who sits in the westernmost aisle on Sundays (booths 3 and 4), likes to find “a little something for everyone” at the estate sales she frequents. Amid her buffet tables of knickknacks—everything from a vintage View-Master with a dozen original reels ($35) to decorative stone masks ($150)—we stumbled upon a trumpet-style Carl Sorensen bronze vase ($50) that could easily fetch twice that amount elsewhere.

6. Nab premicrowave cookware
Approaching Jane Coley’s tent (booths 118 and 128) on the lot’s prime (shaded!) northeastern corner is like walking into a retro kitchen. The New Jersey native travels to estate sales near and far (she had just returned from Farmington, Michigan, when we visited) to snatch up vintage housewares like a white and blue floral CorningWare kettle ($15), old-school blenders ($15–$25) and a silver tea set ($60) in need of a slight polish but otherwise flawless.
TONY deal: Mention TONY to get 20 percent off all purchases through July 31.

7. Meet an honest salesman (really!)
In this eBay era, Sunday seller Harold Mayeri (booth No. 20) is a reminder of just how much fun—and interactive—a day of bargain shopping can be. A collector since he was nine, when his dad ran the now-defunct Persian Bazaar on East 8th Street, Mayeri has put more than 252,000 miles on his 2003 Saturn traveling to estate sales and working with dealers to source his unique finds. Jewelry takes up half of the table’s real estate, with antiques ranging from $5 to $1,000 and costume bling hovering in the $20 range. Don’t miss his vintage silver items, like a perfectly polished pitcher ($500). Mayeri isn’t afraid to warn you of imperfections—he suggested we paint the inside of an antique silver cuff from Mexico ($25–$100) with clear nail polish, lest we wanted our arm to turn green.

Postflea: If a great deal wasn’t enough to get your engines revving, spend the rest of the afternoon learning about the sex lives of animals and robots (thankfully, not together) at the Museum of Sex (233 Fifth Ave at 27th St; 212-689-6337, museumofsex.com; $16.75).

GO THERE NOW!
West 25th Street Market, W 25th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave (hellskitchenfleamarket.com). Year-round. Sat, Sun 9am-6pm.


West 25th Street Market | Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market

 

NEXT Best for antiques: The Antiques Garage and GreenFlea Market

 

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

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