Like any good Brooklynite in a gentrified neighborhood I love me some dope second-hand finds. I’ve always judged a neighborhood by the quality of its second-hand stores. My definition of a high quality ‘hood (as measured by my Thrift Store Index, TSI) is one that has a mix of un-curated batches of trinketygoodness, from which I leave covered in dust, paired with stores that work to create a mood and style by showcasing trendy or stylish pieces (an outdoor market or two never hurt anyone either). Before deciding on Park Slope as a place to buy my humble abode, I spent many an afternoon walking from Vanderbilt to 1st Avenue in search of neighborhood spots I could call home. As a young woman sans child and stroller I wasn’t lured in by the wide array of children’s yoga classes or art studios. No. I was drawn to PS because of its natural charm, streets linedwith big trees and brownstone homes, the park and farmers markets, home-grown comfort AND an off the charts array of second-hand furniture shops within walking distance. There’s little more satisfying than finding a 4″ brass horse statue, a Care Bears coffee mug, and a naturally distressed wooden table with iron legs within the same 4 four walls, or tent. Because not everyone has the luxury of wandering the streets for hours on end with 90’s music blaring from their headphones, I’ve created a shortcut (although I do highly recommend the former): a list of places to check out and reasons they are A for awesome.
Housing Works Thrift Shops, 266 5th Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11215
Do you need a set of glass mugs for $3 or a piece of framed 1970’s artwork to adorn your wall? This is the place to go. Not only is there a great selection of furniture and little knick knacks (think 4″ brass horse statue), these guys also have an eclectic mix of second hand clothing. Need to wallpaper your hallway? Buy a bunch of unframed prints and go to town. You can use wallpaper goo or thumbtacks…designers choice.
Trailer Park, 77 Sterling Place #A, Brooklyn, NY 11217
If you want a wide selection of real deal, high quality craftsmanship pieces this is the place to go. Not only do they sell furniture made by Amish craftspeople, but they also have a mix of eclectic mid century modern pieces and retro finds. Bring your wallet. The pieces here are a bit pricey. If you’re looking for the perfect light fixture to pair with your farmhouse table, try this 1960’s hanging lamp they are currently selling for $225. Throw a sheepskin or cow hide rug underneath it all for some more retro flare with a feminine twist (and don’t forget the fresh flowers…display some romantic tea roses or peonys).
Build It Green!Brooklyn Reuse Center, 69 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Where do I start? This is an O-asis for anyone interested in DIY projects. Better yet, this is a literal playground littered with salvaged building materials and furniture. If you have an imagination, and don’t mind getting a little dirty, I highly suggest stopping in. Want to build your own piece of furniture, or refinish some old doors to create a divider in your studio apartment? Come on over. Also- a great place for set designers. You can find anything you need to recreate an old scene in a haunted victorian bathroom (just in case that’s what you’re going for). Not only is this place large and in charge, they also have a fab used book selection and a friendly cat!
Sterling Place, 148 7th Avenue or 352 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (there’s also another location in Boreum Hill-see website for details)
Need to buy your mother-in-law a gift? Need a great side table or old secretary’s desk? This is the place to go. These guys are high class and down to earth and have antique pieces and brand spankin’ new beautiful home accessories. The customer service is on point and they are always willing to help you locate the perfect piece to complete your living room. All you have to do is ask! I once bought my father a framed vintage style map of Flatlands, Brooklyn where he grew up. It was a hit. At $150 it wasn’t cheap but it’s one of a kind and definitely worth it.
Park Slope Flea, P.S. 321, 180 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217
O hello, trinkets. Ah, what a joy it is to walk by this gem of a street parade on a Saturday morning. Grab an iced coffee and browse the old cuff links, tins, pill boxes, jewelry, mirrors, and retro furniture for hours. Bring cash and some disposable shopping bags. I think the photo says it all. Come to the ‘hood and see for yourself.