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Posts Tagged ‘markets’

ImageWhen the H1B and I looked at where to permanently live in New York – after a brief spell in a tiny, hot  studio on 66th and 1st, and a month in the iconic (but covered in scaffolding) 15 Park Row building near City Hall – we turned to Google.

I literally googled, Where is the best place to live in New York?, and New York Mag’s brilliantly informative and interactive Livability Calculator came up.

It’s such a clever, useful piece of kit and ranks boroughs in terms of crime, noise levels, local schools etc. And you can also search by the type of lifestyle you live – ie: if you have kids or not.

Glad to see that Park Slope is still at the top.

It’s a bit of a cliché to live in Park Slope once you have kids (see Shit Park Slope Parents Say – cringe), but it’s a great place to live*.

Breezy, leafy, with decent cafes and good enough restaurants (James is our favourite), and close to hip areas like Fort Greene and Boerum Hill and the Brooklyn Flea. And you can get to the City easily enough for work or if you need that dose of Manhattan.

As much as I like the idea of a penthouse in Tribeca or loft apartment in Soho, for our budget bracket I’d choose Brooklyn over the Upper East Side any day.

*Although, according to the calculator if you are ‘married with kids‘, Greenpoint is best, followed by Murray Hill, and then Park Slope – probably because of the cost of housing (a Brownstone in Park Slope costs something like $3,500,000).

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When we first moved into our grand but unfurnished Brownstone apartment we had to break down what to buy when.

First was the bed (although we are still waiting to order because of the delay in getting the H1B’s social security number – god bless whoever invented the Aerobed, which is currently a bargainous $58 on Amazon).

Next urgent priority was a table and chairs for the kitchen.

Other than our Aerobed, the only other seating we had in the house was a step ladder, which had been “borrowed” from the communal storage area and still hasn’t found its way back.

We had to take turns; and using it alongside the breakfast bar it was surprisingly ergonomic:

Eat your heart out Charles Eames

… but not a long-term solution, especially if we wanted to have people around for dinner, or actually speak to each other ever again.

There are many exquisite furniture stores in New York, not least the massive ABC Home on Broadway north of Union Square (opposite Fish Eddys, which is a brilliant bargain hunt of a store for crockery, cutlery and glassware).

But with a budget of around $1000 for table and chairs ABC Home was strictly for inspiration only and instead I went to West Elm and CB2, which is like a much cooler, better-made Ikea.

Unlike the bed, which I knew I wanted to be traditional, made of iron and high, I was open to different ideas about the kitchen table. Modern, glass or industrial metal, my only specification was that it had to be extendable as I’d like it to sit in the corner next to the fireplace and big windows and then extend it out when we have people around.

Ideally, I was looking for something that would fit four people (around 45″ square) but extend to fit six or eight.

Here were some choices that made the shortlist:

Dylan Table from CB2

West Elm Extendable Angle Leg Table

West Elm Extendable Paul Oebach Table

None were quite right – either they seemed not that well made (West Elm’s more economic options were veneer or a bit wobbly and the shop stock was very chipped and battered, which didn’t give me much confidence as to its longevity), or too big (I loved CB2’s fashionably distressed wood and industrial metal Dylan table, but it’s a 80″ long and $899).

Next I tried Film Biz Recycling, which is a not-for-profit set-up that hires or sell props and furniture from film sets. If I’d wanted a 1960s television, a fake Louis IV armchair  or a stuffed gazelle’s head I’d have been in business but unfortunately there were no suitable tables or chairs.

So onto the antique shops and I headed over to the strip of shops on Atlantic Avenue between Smith and Bond in Boerum Hill. This area has long been known for its furniture shops but in the last five years or so it’s become a haven of vintage cool too.

(Award-winning vintage fashion boutique Mafalda is worth checking out – if  I hadn’t been furniture shopping, an Arran sweater and black leather mini skirt would have been mine – as well as the kooky Dry Goods, which I blogged about previously, but hadn’t visited – it sells quaintly kitsch homewares and pet supplies. Rothschild is a good rest stop too – had very good sticky ribs and glass of super smooth Rioja.)

Horseman’s Antiques was my first furniture stop – four floors of tables, beds, chairs, wardrobes and sofas stacked together in a dusty commune. It’s well worth rummaging around (and you do need to rummage) but I found it crazy expensive and the shop assistants not that helpful by New York standards (there are no prices on the items but a code, which you have to take downstairs to the main desk so they can – reluctantly – look up the price). They also have an eBay site, which might be easier to browse.

Town & Country 352 on the opposite side of the road is smaller and has a more navigable layout and again specialises in mid-century designs.

I’d walked past Sterling Place a few times. It’s beautifully curated gifts, coffee table books and homewares made it look beyond our budget, but this is where I found our table and chairs. The owner Rob sources his furniture from estate auctions like most other antique shops but doesn’t put unrealistic mark-ups on his products, preferring a higher turn-over of goods I guess.

We bought a pretty and solid 1940s round Chestnut table, with two leaves, that fits the space perfectly for around $500 including tax and delivery. And a set of beautiful high-backed wood and wicker dining chairs from the 7th Avenue Park Slope store for a brilliant $408 including tax – and Rob had taken £100 off the chairs because he wanted to clear them out for the Holiday stock and delivered them for free because we’d paid for delivery of the table already.

Table non-extended

Nice pins

Sterling Place Park Slope

This Saturday we are going to check out the famous Hell’s Kitchen antique and flea market on West 25th street. Can’t wait.

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Markets are a distinctly New York experience and none more so than the Green Markets, which are the hippest way to buy food in New York.

Cheaper than most of the astonishingly expensive Manhattan stores, such as Gristedes or Whole Foods (though I found that Amish Market was better value when we lived near Tribeca), you have the bonus of the food being seasonal and local.

Brooklyn Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket

The Green Market Organisation was set up in 1976 as a way for small producers to get their food to the consumer. The first market bought together 12 farmers at a lot at 59th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan although there is no longer an active market at the site (the closest is 59th street and 9th avenue).

The buzz of the stall holders, as well as initiatives to help those less well off (such as the EBT stamps), as well as all the photo-worthy local produce make them well worth a visit as a tourist destination too.

If you go no other time of year, make a visit on the market days prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas when the atmosphere will be genuinely festive. I’m looking forward to the pre-Thanksgiving market at Grand Army Plaza on Wednesday, even though I’m not actually cooking or having people around for dinner!

Brooklyn Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket

Grab yourself a coffee and a pastry and have a wander around. Even it’s a pound of crisp red apples from upstate New York, a cup of hot apple cider or locally produced honey, make sure you buy something – you are supporting the local farmers and small holders and the community.

Now there are 53 markets around the NY area – the biggest market is at Union Square on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a list of the markets with local subway stops and days (go to grownyc.com for full details and information) :

Manhattan:
175th Street Thursday 
106th Street / Stranger’s Gate Saturday 
97th Street Friday
92nd Street  Sunday
82nd Street Saturday
79th Street Sunday 
57th Street  Wednesday & Saturday
Abingdon Square Saturday 
Bowling Green Tuesday & Thursday
City Hall Tuesday & Friday
Columbia Thursday & Sunday
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Wednesday
Fort Washington Tuesday
Inwood Saturday
Mount Sinai Wednesday
Port Authority Bus Terminal Thursday
Saint Mark’s Church Tuesday
Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal Tuesday & Friday 
Stuyvesant Town Sunday
Tompkins Sunday
Tribeca Wednesday & Saturday
Tucker Square Thursday & Saturday
Union Square Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday
World Financial Center Battery Park City Thursday
Zuccotti Park Tuesday
Fulton Youth of the Future Youthmarket Thursday 
Lower East Side Youthmarket Thursday 

 

Brooklyn:
Bay Ridge Saturday 
Boro Park Thursday 
Brooklyn Borough Hall Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday 
Carroll Gardens
Sunday 
Cortelyou Rd Sunday 
Fort Greene Park Saturday 
Grand Army Plaza Saturday 
Greenpoint McCarren Park Saturday 
Sunset Park Saturday 
Williamsburg Waterfront Saturday
Windsor Terrace Wednesday
Williamsburg Thursday 
Brownsville Youthmarket Tuesday & Friday 
Cypress Hills Youthmarket Friday
Kensington Youthmarket Saturday 
Lafayette Youthmarket Sunday 

 

Queens:
Astoria Wednesday 
Atlas Park Glendale Saturday
Corona Friday
Douglaston Sunday 
Elmhurst Tuesday
Jackson Heights Sunday 
Socrates Sculpture Park Saturday 
Sunnyside Saturday 
Ridgewood Youthmarket Saturday 

Bronx:
Bronx Borough Hall Tuesday 
Lincoln Hospital Tuesday & Friday
New York Botanical Garden Wednesday
Parkchester Friday 
Poe Park Tuesday
Wholesale Greenmarket
Monday-Saturday, 2-8 AM
Kingsbridge Heights Youthmarket Friday 
Learn It, Grow It, Eat It Youthmarket Wednesday 
Marble Hill Youthmarket Friday 
Riverdale Youthmarket Thursday  

 

Staten Island:
Saint George Saturday
Staten Island Mall Saturday
Stapleton Youthmarket Saturday 

No idea what a rutabaga is - but they sure are popular

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