Bargain lovers, rejoice! Summer is in full swing, and open-air flea markets once again reign supreme. Like garage and tag sales, seasonal fleas offer the opportunity to scout everything from fine armoires to collectable Wendy’s cups and every fixer-upper in-between. With so many goods gracing the line between heirlooms and junk, a market visit can be overwhelming. But don’t worry: You just need to know where, and how, to look. To get you started, here are some of our favorite area fleas, plus a few tips for happier hunting.
If you’re willing to make the most of your morning, head to the Patterson Flea Market (www.facebook.com/newpattersonfleamarket). The market starts at 6:30 a.m. and offers plenty of vintage games, housewares, antiques, and assorted memorabilia. Early risers should also stop by the Stormville Antique Show & Flea Market (www.stormvilleairportfleamarket.com). It began in 1970 with a handful of merchants and today has grown to showcase more than 600 vendors, countless food concessions, and acres of antiquing adventure. Just remember that it’s a good idea to park somewhere central at a market this large, and take a lap to scan for deals before committing to an in-depth search.
The same rules apply to Mower’s Market (www.mowerssaturdayfleamarket.com). Another long-standing tradition, it’s located in the center of Woodstock and encompasses the true spirit of this town. It’s a great place to seek artsy curios and homemade treasures, in addition to expected market fare. A similar rustic feel exists at the Bryant Farms & Antique Market (www.fleamarketmalls.com/market/bryant-farms-antique-and-flea-market), where bargains are found in an old barn on a bucolic Claverack property.
Head to the Hastings Flea (www.hastingsflea.com) in Hastings-on-Hudson if a city vibe is more your thing. The venue focuses on more timely local artisans and includes a few food trucks on-site. More modern finds are also available at the Rockland Flea (www.fleamarketmalls.com/market/rockland-flea-market) of Monsey, where approximately 150 dealers are ready to sell all sorts of sought-after gifts.
Most markets take place rain or shine, so pack accordingly. If you’re really worried about inclement weather, check out an indoor market like the Middletown Flea (www.middletownfleamarket.com), or head to the Coxsackie Antique Center (www.coxsackie.com). While it’s not a flea market per se, this West Coxsackie facility is open every day, features more than 100 dealers and even keeps a matchmaker file to help collectors and vendors find their perfect fit.
No matter which market you attend, always keep your basic manners in mind while bargaining. Be polite, and ask vendors appropriate questions about items you’re interested in. Avoid opening with an assertive transaction; ease into a deal by asking them to consider less. Haggling is expected (and part of the fun!), but remember that vendors are trying to make a profit. Know, and accept, a good bargain when you find one.
- Before your expedition, assess what you have and make a list of what you’re looking for. Think about things you may need, projects you can accommodate, or the most coveted pieces you collect. Many items may seem like a good idea on-site, until you get them home and realize there’s not one place to store them.
- For extra fit assurance, make note of your measurements and bring along measuring tape.
- Tote a cart, to ease your carrying, along with packing materials or bungee cords for safe transportation home.
- Prepare early, and get there early, too. Some markets start before many folks wake up on weekends, and the most dedicated collectors arrive before the markets even open.