Flea Season! 

Prowling the City's Best Markets

It's no secret I'm not the most physically adept individual. Considering said lack of athletic prowess, it should come as no surprise that I don't have a lot to say about the aesthetics of sportswear. In the past few years, I've complained about design flaws in sports bras, bemoaned the skater-girl-ification of what should be a basic black rash guard, and worn my boyfriend's oversize basketball jersey as a dress. Most recently, I made a daring attempt to revisit my skiing career (on hiatus since age 13), and engaged in no small amount of drama at the Patagonia store whilst shopping for a fleece-lined snow-bunny ensemble. (Here's a sneak peek: It involved me trying on a pair of  little boys' ski pants in a size XL "for fit," much to the amusement of the granola-eating, bandana-wearing boy who was helping me.) Bottom line: while some folks view the advent of warm weather as an opportunity to stock up on sports gear for various outdoor athleticism (Baseball caps! Soccer shorts! Huzzah!), I start pulling out my most walking-friendly flats for a different sort of excursion: outdoor street fairs.

The Young Designers' Market in Nolita has long been a favorite of mine, running Saturday and Sunday at 268 Mulberry Street. Yes, it's indoors, but it has the same somewhat hit-or-miss aesthetic of most outdoor vendors: A hodgepodge of up-and-coming fashion and jewelry designers. The hits are big, and the misses equally so, but I rarely leave without grabbing someone's business card to add to my growing collection of designers to watch.

If you're more of a spelunker, I love spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at one of the massive block party-style fairs in Manhattan: The GreenFlea Sunday market on Columbus Avenue is near enough to the Natural History Museum that you can plan a whole day of bizarre discovery (Look at this weird-looking dinosaur! Look at this weird-looking wall clock!), or there's always the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market on 39th Street between Ninth and Tenth (oddball trinkets and a Broadway show!). 

The latest and much-touted addition to the city's somewhat-fresh-air-shopping experience is the Brooklyn Flea, commencing April 6 outside Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Fort Greene. The bonanza is the brainchild of Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler, who started the buzz through their Brooklyn real estate web site, The Brownstoner by claiming it will be "the largest outdoor flea market in New York City." Best of all? The revolution will be curated—apparently they've received over 500 notes of interest, and are actually sifting through said applications for really worthy vendors. Amid the selections thus far: Architectural salvage, records, clothing, art, photography, jewelry, even tasty treats from Brown Bag Industries and bicycles from Beaver St. bikes. Personally, I'm in the market for an old stain-glass window—I'm sure you'll find plenty of things you never knew you desperately needed.

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