new york times

THEY came for freshly shucked oysters and straight-off-the-leg prosciutto. They came for clacking vintage typewriters and old LPs repurposed as dog tags and bracelets. And they came, to the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene last Saturday, searching for meaning and connection in their rudderless lives.

“Flea markets proliferate a volume of goods needing to be sold and people who are hungry — emotionally and aesthetically — to sort out the meaning of life,” said Michael Prokopow, a history professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto, who teaches a course called “Stuff,” about things and their meaning. “For most people who go on these ritualized scavenger hunts looking for something that they may not know exists, it is a kind of pilgrims’ process through the detritus of the past.”

O.K. So, maybe the situation is not quite that deep. But in recent years, with nearly half a dozen major flea markets springing up across the city, the flea marketing of New York is all but complete.

There is the Brooklyn Flea — actually two flea markets, one in Fort Greene every Saturday and, new this year, another in Williamsburg every Sunday. There is the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market every weekend, with its gourmet food truck bazaar every second Sunday of the month. There is the Antiques Garage and the West 25th Street Market in Chelsea.

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