My whole life I was always more interested in what happened in the past, or what could possibly happen in the far future. I love the early 1900s as well as the Victorian Era. I also love cars from the 30s to the 50s, as well as the lifestyle, values, and “advancements”. Space and the future of the human race fascinate me to no end, and nothing disappoints me more than the fact that I will never see things like humans living on other planets. I have never been more disinterested in what was happening now, which some would say is no way to live. But I think you can learn a lot from the past.
I collect old cameras, and not just because it is a novelty in my field of work to own a collection. Someone in 1940 bought this brand new. At the time, I’m sure it was not cheap. They saved up and bought this fascinating thing that not many people had the privilege of owning. After learning how to use it, practicing and probably failing a few times, they eventually got good enough at it to take photos of their family, the places they went, and life memories.
Now I hold this camera, in a time where everyone has a camera, whether it be a professional DSLR or a camera in your phone. This camera I’m holding as delicately as an infant should not be special, but it is. It so is. It represents a time of budding innovation and a deep appreciation for the art of taking a picture on film. Someone who never even dreamed an iPhone could ever exist held this camera. The pictures they took to just show their friends are probably being sold for a lot of money in a flea market somewhere, like the flea market I found myself in not too long ago.
I go to Brooklyn Flea Market sometimes just to hold and appreciate “the old things”. I’m not gonna lie…sometimes I just go for the food truck food.
But most of the time it is because each stall has such a unique vibe and story. Like dAN’S Parent’s House. Dan, a quirky, happy, man-child, sells everything from Polaroid Cameras to Star Wars figurines. He describes it as “an extension of my childhood” and explains he likes to think he sells their “child hood and happiness back to them.” His stall was really a microcosm of my childhood. I couldn’t help but smile in there.
Dan was a good guy, and I ended up buying a working Canon Film Camera from him for 15 bucks.
Olde Good Things is a New York mainstay and one of my favorite places to explore. They are more salvage than antiques, but you know hipsters. They will jump on anything ripped out of an old brownstone and repurposed.
My boyfriend, who owns his own plumbing and heating company, honed in on something they were selling right away. (I didn’t get a picture because the lighting wasn’t pretty. Story of my life.) On top of tables and hidden in the back were big glass pipes and tubes. Dave explained they were glass fittings for acid waste vent pipes. Labs are required to have glass vents so they wouldn’t corrode. They are oddly shaped but really cool, and the owner saw me eyeballing them. He said he wants to try and make lamps out of them.
I love architectural salvage, but it has a tendency to be very pricy. If I could, I would decorate and furnish my entire house in found items, salvaged lamps, and repurposed furniture. However, with my salary I’ll stick with good ol’ Ikea for now. But if you ever want to find them, just keep an eye out for the pink elephant they take everywhere.
Dave loves old bottles and we came across Windsor Place Antiques and Ephemera who specialize in paper products, but also had quite a collection of glass bottles. I really like the dark bottles because I know there was something in their they didn’t want exposed to the light. I found one labeled “meat juice” and “meat tidbits”…..eegads.
We got a great deal in the end. 10 bottles, half seltzer/half milk bottles, in an original milk crate, plus two extra bottles, for $100. What I find funny is I think this is a good deal. They are glass bottles that are only that expensive because of time. Someone actually relied on these to get milk from every morning, and we paid $100 to have then displayed on our shelf. Sometimes I wonder about humanity.
Every time I go back, I discover something new. World’s Fair Postcards, fully functioning cameras, tins upon empty tins, ugly 70s furniture and refurbished mary janes. It’s always an adventure, and I’m always excited to find what food trucks are there to make my browsing even more enjoyable.
To learn more about Brooklyn Flea, visit their website. Beware: it is boiling hot in there in the winter. Dress in layers. You have been advised.