Post image for Daily News | Six new Brooklyn Flea Market vendors boast jams, pies, music records, women’s clothing and more

Daily News | Six new Brooklyn Flea Market vendors boast jams, pies, music records, women’s clothing and more

by Dekalb Market on April 1, 2011

in Press

This weekend marks the opening of flea market season – a sure sign of spring just when we need one. Even better, Brooklyn is getting two new offerings.

In addition to the well-established Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays in Fort Greene, a location will open Sundays in Williamsburg, boasting East River views.

Meanwhile, in downtown Brooklyn, an empty lot on the Flatbush Avenue Extension is transforming into Dekalb Market. A collection of refurbished shipping containers will house boutique shopping, eclectic eats and even a live performance venue and a farm.


“The spaces are small, but it’s going to be a shopping destination for people,” says Hekima Hapa, one of the vendors in the new space. “There will be a farm there, and an event space. It will be a hangout.”

Flea market shoppers have varying plans of attack. Some peruse with a specific item in mind or follow a favorite food — just ask anyone who craves the Popsicles and papusas that make regular Fort Greene appearances. For others, a flea market is about wandering from stall to stall, waiting for that esoteric item that screams, “Take me home.”

To highlight the offerings, here are six vendors new to the flea market scene this year. From pies to toys to vintage records, these Brooklynites (and one Long Islander) are bringing out the best they have to offer.

Michelle & Mary Mangiliman

SELL: women’s clothing, some home goods; LOOK FOR THEM AT: Dekalb Market,; LIVES: Greenpoint.

Sisters Michelle, 30, and Mary, 28, arrived in Greenpoint via San Francisco, where Michelle studied fashion while Mary studied business. The result: their dress shop, Dalaga.

“Dalaga is a Filipino word that means ‘lady,’” says Michelle. “For me and my sister when we were little, if our dad called us dalagas it was the best thing ever — that was like the quintessential woman.”

They opened their shop with handmade clothing — and some imported Filipino bags and jewelry — but customers posted especially rave Yelp reviews about their dresses.

“We’ve stayed true to that reputation,” says Michelle. “We keep the store stocked with a versatile mix of dresses. Ones that can go day-to-night, occasion-to-occasion.”

They had done several pop-up shops back when they were looking for their permanent space, so the Dekalb Market fell into their area of expertise. Their shipping container will be decorated to evoke the cozy, feminine feel of their shop and filled with what Michelle calls “the best of the best” of the dresses. But you never know what surprise products could appear.

“Once in a while, we’ll put out one-of-a-kinds on the floor or a small run of crop tops in the summer, especially if we’ve sold out of a lot of stuff and we don’t have a delivery coming soon,” says Michelle. “I know what I want and what other girls want, and if I have the fabric, I put it out there.”

Benjamin Filippo

SELLS: jams and spreads; LOOK FOR HIM AT: Williamsburg Flea,; LIVES: Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

Ben Filippo, 23, brings culinary history to his canning experiments. He holds a degree in the anthropology of food, which might explain why his business This & That Jam is so inventive.

The venture started when he ate something advertised as “tomato jam” in a restaurant. “I thought, ‘This is interesting, and it’s sort of like a jam, I guess,’” he says. In an effort to do better, he launched experiments with different tomatoes, tempered acid levels, and finally got it right.

After the jam came forays into nut butters and curds — some of them inspired by recipes he dug out of his history books. Among the products he plans to bring to Williamsburg will be a tangerine sea salt curd and a cardamom honey pepita butter.

“When I buy preserves and jams in the store, they’re okay, you know, they’re fine,” he says. “But the difference in quality can be so huge. … I think it’s great to have something where you know what’s in it. You know it’s not from some huge warehouse where fish sauce is being made next to your strawberry jam.”

Rachel Gladfelter

SELLS: pies; LOOK FOR HER AT: Fort Greene Flea,; LIVES: Gowanus.

Whenever Rachel Gladfelter brought one of her pies to a dinner party, she got the same response: Why don’t you sell these?

“It’s something that everybody kept saying, so at Thanksgiving I thought, ‘Let me give it a try,’” she says.

The 29-year-old put out the word to friends and started taking orders, but she didn’t count on the demand.

“Basically I was up the two nights before Thanksgiving until four in the morning baking,” she says. “That kind of kick-started everything.”

She uses a fiercely guarded crust recipe passed down from her maternal grandmother, Ruthanna, 78. Her other grandmother, Janet, 90, handed down the Pennsylvania farm where Gladfelter’s parents continue to grow some of the produce she uses. Her apple pie recalls Amish country, but New York has expanded her repertoire. Her new signature is chocolate cream pie in a pretzel crust drizzled with caramel.

To prep for her Brooklyn Flea debut, she rented a commercial kitchen space in Sunset Park. “We’re going to be baking two days prior to the flea,” she says. “We’ll start out with apple pie and chocolate cream pie, but as the season goes on, I will have fresh fruit pies and start going into more of the Pennsylvania Dutch pies.”

There’s even a chance, she says, that some of her parents’ pumpkins will make an appearance in pie form this fall.

Sam Reiss

SELLS: vintage toys, collectibles; LOOK FOR HIM AT: Fort Greene Flea,; LIVES: Carroll Gardens.

Ever since he was a teenager, Sam Reiss, 29, has been on a treasure hunt. He and others like him call it “the junk game.”

“I was a broke teenager, so I started collecting records and I’d find out the ones that would sell and flip ‘em and pick others up on the cheap,” he says. “I was always collecting toys or junk or sneakers or clothing.”

His rotating inventory is driven by a mix of value and curiosity. Plus, while browsing Brooklyn’s flea markets, he noticed that you could outfit a kitchen or find the perfect bureau, but, he says, “I never really saw the stuff that I was into, which was really just low-rent Americana. It’s not intellectualized. It’s just cool junk and toys and old Harley shirts and video games.”

He will bring his finds to Fort Greene, and maybe see what he can pick up there as well. In the world of junk, every sale and swap meet can lead to discovery.

“You develop a sort of sense about it, and you see how things are priced,” he says. “You’re always on the lookout.”

Hekima Hapa

SELLS: women’s clothing; LOOK FOR HER AT: Dekalb Market,; LIVES: East Flatbush.

Hapa, 38, is the daughter of a seamstress. She came to New York with a partly completed fashion merchandising degree, got a job, realized she hated merchandising and didn’t bother to finish school.

“I already knew how to design, because I had been doing it since I was a child,” she says. “I wanted to break out on my own, so I started making things at home and selling them in fairs.”

Her line, Harriet’s Alter Ego, took inspiration from Harriet Tubman and used bold African fabrics sourced by Hapa’s Nigerian business partner, Ngozi Odita. Soon they had a shop on Nostrand Ave.
in Crown Heights. Later, it moved to Flatbush Ave., not far from where the Dekalb Market will take place. In fact, that’s how the market organizers found her.

“We stayed in our Flatbush Ave. shop for as long as we could,” she says, “but business was not booming as much as it needed to be for the size of the space. … It was important to the [Dekalb Market] organizers to revive some of the businesses that were gone.”

In the new setup, she’ll get her own nook in a refurbished shipping crate, just the right amount of space for her vintage-inspired, handmade designs.

“Fashion can sometimes be very unobtainable,” she says, “and we like that our stuff looks like something your grandmother might have made or that your mother might have worn. We have very simple designs, but we use fabulous fabric.”

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