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Flea Markets and Food – One of NYC’s Best Rituals

By mahir | May 18, 2011

It’s amazing how flea markets, street food, and food carts have become such a popular topic today. This is great, and I’m really excited about all the opportunities that are available now to food trucks, artisan food makers, and more. Even this weekend, a New York Times article, “The Flea Marketing of New York” featured then broadening range of flea markets and the vendors who sell wares from antique tables to homemade pickles to hand-dyed clothing.

These flea markets give a space to many purveyors who have other employment or who don’t have the capital yet to start a brick-and-mortar location. They also are speaking to New Yorkers and tourists in a strong way, as evidenced by packed markets all around the city.

The New York Times suggested some great places, but I wish that they had focused more on the flea market in Chelsea on 26th and 6th. What’s great is to try the foods that are at the flea market, I love how food has become part of the ritual. You go, find everything you want to buy, then have a great snack.

Some of my favorite eats at the flea market have been corn tamales from an Ecuadorian couple and then up on Madison and 125th street, there’s a fantastic flea market. I’ve found so much great stuff there, many items of which are in Red Rooster Harlem. I always get juice from this Jamaican guy, and that is part of the ritual, too. That ritual is part of what inspired us to open the Nook at Red Rooster Harlem.

This weekend there’s a new food-focused flea market opening in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, called Smorgasburg. I love the combination between the Swedish word for buffet table and the neighborhood’s name. The fact that there’s a new flea totally dedicated to food says that this kind of event is more than just an activity it’s a ritual.

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