New York is a city where you can buy virtually anything. Well, provided you have unlimited resources, that is. Otherwise, you can pretty much just buy bread and the occasional two-bite, artisanal cupcake. But nevertheless, virtually everything is for sale, sometimes without even going into a store. I can buy raw fish from an open cooler from a guy squatting in front of the post office on 23rd St (it's vacuum-packed fish, but as we near summer temperatures, that doesn't make it okay). I can buy "previously-owned" teddy bears for a mere $3.50 (for small) or $5 (for large) from an old man by Union Square. Then again, as he was sitting nearish the newly erected Andy Warhol statue/soup can shrine, it's possibly some sort of avant-garde display rather than legitimate ratty stuffed bear marketing.
He's super shiny, so his fans can find him easily.
The cream of the crop, in terms of New York outdoor shopping, however, is the outdoor markets. Weirdly I had already made plans for my inaugural trip to the Brooklyn Flea Market (I've always heard good things, but getting over to Brooklyn on the weekends just isn't always feasible), when I saw this article in the Sunday Times. While, like most things in New York, the Brooklyn Flea is filled with a lot of fantastic things. And naturally, some of them are over-priced. Unfortunately, the day I chose to go, it was raining, and only a fraction of the vendors showed up. Can't say I blame them really, but it does mean I'll have to schedule another trip out there.
The focus of the Brooklyn Flea has slowly shifted to the food. In fact, there's talk of making a separate market exclusively for food. (This was in the article linked above, but I know some of you are probably also hoarding your 20 free article clicks per month, so I figure it couldn't hurt to summarize). One of the main reasons I agreed to travel to Brooklyn on a rainy Sunday was the promise of a lobster roll on the other end. Sadly, the lobster roll people were amongst the vendors not present. You could get organically made, artisanal cupcakes for only $1 a bite though, so perhaps I found my reason for getting on the L train on a weekend. Oh, also bacon & caramel popcorn.
Then again, I probably need to stay out of Brooklyn for a few weekends if I'm going to maintain my Astoria blog cred.