Marika’s of Shelter Island


EVERY DAY’S A FLEA MARKET AT MARIKA’S, a mad jumble of used furniture on Rt. 114, the main artery through serene and pretty Shelter Island, tucked between Long Island’s North and South Forks.


Truth to tell, I have never bought anything at Marika’s, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I check it out every time I pass through the island — most recently yesterday, when my quest was for a set of six matching dining chairs to go around my new 1940s X-legged table. I didn’t find what I wanted, but I totally enjoyed the browse.


There are a couple of outbuildings and several tents next to an ordinary split-level, spilling over with used furniture, kitchenware, framed pictures, and kitschy lamps, much of it in rough condition. Outdoor furniture is a specialty.


Marika’s is one of those places where you can’t help but think, there’s so much, surely there must be something…I may not yet have found anything at Marika’s, but that doesn’t dim my hopes for next time.


Yard Sale: The Store


I ACCOMPLISHED A LOT this weekend, especially in the garden (oh, my aching back). But my greatest achievement of the past couple of days was finding Vincent Manzo’s tucked-away antique/vintage design store open. His posted hours are Saturday and Sunday 12-5, but I’d tried three times during those hours and never found him in.

Three times I peered through the windows at colored glass and funky lamps and wrought iron lawn furniture and rattan sofas and wondered: is it reasonably priced? This is the Hamptons, after all, and the answer to that question is usually “No, it’s not.”


The last time I tried, I sat in my car in front of the store and called Vince’s cell phone. “I’ll be open later,” he said. “How much later?” I asked. “About 3 o’clock,” he said. It was noon. The people at the next-door gallery waved their hands. “Oh, he comes when he feels like it.”


Vince likes buying more than selling. Who can blame him? The hunt is way more exciting than sitting in the store waiting for customers.

Vince, when I finally got inside the store and met him, has a good eye, and no wonder. One of his previous jobs was in display at Tiffany’s. He trawls suburban Long Island from head to tail (it’s shaped like a fish, we learned in 7th grade), discovering a load of mid-century design and colorful kitsch, as well as more traditional furniture and collectibles.


Which he sells – YES! – at remarkably reasonable prices. The things I inquired about — a Chinese red three-drawer chest with gilded hardware and a Nakashima-esque slab-of-wood coffee table, mounted on X-shaped picnic bench legs — were $75 and $125 respectively.


I’ll definitely keep going back.

YARD SALE is at 66 Newtown Lane (rear building), East Hampton, NY. 631/324-7048, 917/972-7885

See Vince on Martha Stewart.

Glitteryardi: Yard Sales of the East End

IMG_0866I’D HEARD ABOUT EAST HAMPTON’S legendary yard sales. “You’ll find everything you need at them,” people said.

What I need: a loveseat/bench for the front deck; a bench for the front hall; a night table and lamp for the guest room. Maybe some salad servers. Sofa cushions, but I’m not going to find them at a yard sale. Nothing else! I’m made of steel when it comes to resisting unnecessary crap.

But I did want to check out some local yard sales, just for the fun of it. I knew enough to pick up a copy of the East Hampton Star on Friday, with its two columns of nothing but Yard Sales, and planned a route for Saturday morning, salivating against my better judgement over ads for “Full basement” (I have a couple of full basements myself, that’s the sickness of it) and “Top drawer stuff”(always a subjective matter, never more so than when it comes to yard sales).

These Hamptons people start early. In Brooklyn, nothing happens on the stoop/tag/yard sale front ’til 10AM. Here they start at 8, 8:30, or 9 — and even then, as my friend Nancy and I discovered at 7:55 this morning, pulling up in front of our first-ever East Hampton yard sale, “No early birds” don’t mean sh*t.

Everywhere we went — and we hit half a dozen sales in Springs, East Hampton, and Amagansett — there were at least ten cars parked, and people walking out with plants, pottery, towels, picture frames, and generally high-quality domestic flotsam and jetsam.


The strangest sale, in Northwest Woods, required us to walk up a long curved gravel driveway to an ersatz chateau, above, landscaped to perfection, where in the garage behind the (just guessing) $15 million dollar manse, we found the best bargains of the day. $2 was the going price for art books (I got one on Jackson Pollock and a photography book), $25 each for low-slung canvas deck chairs (good for around the pool – that’s why I didn’t buy them: no pool). There was an antique marble washstand for $25, but we couldn’t conceive of moving it, and lamps from $5-12, but none that spoke to me.


Next, we visited an arty-looking ’70s house of vertical cedar boards, above, owned by a chic woman who had the greatest shoes in the world – unfortunately, not my size. I was idly looking at two framed Art Deco prints (women’s heads, quite pretty, but did I need them? Hell, no!) marked $15, and idly wondering if that was for one or both, when she said, “You like them. Take them for $2.” I really didn’t want them, but for $2 I couldn’t resist.

So I pulled out two dollar bills and handed them to her. Moments later, her friend came over and said, “You’re selling your birthday presents? Even the ones I got in a very good antique store up in Buffalo and carried down just for you?” Meaning those prints. She turned to me. “He’s really hurt. Can I buy them back?” She thrust the two dollars back at me, at which point the friend realized she had not only sold them, but sold them for two bucks.

His face fell, but he tried to joke it off, saying (of me) “Now she wants $25 for them.” In the end, they insisted I keep them, even though, as I said, I didn’t care. They’re in fine condition and look good on a shelf in my bedroom, so that was a decent score (maybe after I get them re-matted, I’ll upgrade that to ‘incredible’ score).


Then it was on to Amagansett and the fabled Domino magazine ex-editors’ second sell-off of swag, i.e. photo-shoot props, above (the first was in the West Village May 9). Today, according to an article in the Star, they were joined by others from the fashion and design industries, hoping to “unload some of the excess they accumulated during the boom years.” (Now is this really their stuff to sell? I’ve sold a few review copies of books to the Strand in my time, but it seems a bit bizarre that these substantial pieces of upholstered furniture and designer clothes were never returned to the retailers/manufacturers/PR reps, and that no attempt was apparently made to offer at least a token amount of the proceeds of these sales to some cause or charity.)

There, next to a cottage on the Montauk Highway, was a mob scene. I lost interest after I was told the one thing that would have worked for me (a wooden bench) was not for sale. As for the advertised “bargain basement prices,” ha! It seemed as though just about everything, including a brass standing lamp and a small, glass-topped wrought iron table, was marked $425.


Lamplady Speaks


WHILE I’M NOT as schizy as Toni Collette in that new show, United States of Tara, I also have an alter ego.

She’s known as Lamplady, and she is particularly fond of kitschy 1950s lamps. Lamplady even had a space at the Showplace on West 25th Street for three months one winter, where she sold, or attempted to sell, wild and crazy mid-century lamps.

The ‘atomic style’ ones, sputnik chandeliers, and Majestics — those black wooden zig-zags with parchment shades shaped like flying saucers — flew out of my booth. The plaster ballerinas and Asian figures did not. I still have about 40 of them in storage.p1030345

I love all types of lamps and lighting; to me, it’s the most important aspect of a room’s decor. If the lighting is bad in a restaurant, I can’t enjoy my meal. If the lighting is wrong in someone’s home, I think nothing of doing what I can to change it on the spot, switching off a harsh, glarey overhead and turning on a table lamp instead, or dimming a too-bright fixture over a dining table. I don’t care if it’s annoying.

Yesterday I went lamp-shopping at Rico on Atlantic Avenue with my friend Becky, who was visiting from Georgia. We were taken with a shiny red/orange drum shade (under $350) that would totally make her dining room; or perhaps she’ll end up with a ring-type chandelier, an open wheel rim with  trendy Edison-style naked-filament light bulbs evenly spaced around it (about $575).z2091-1


If you are a lamp-lover, Lamplady recommends these fantastic sites:

RewireLA for vintage modern European lighting, below orange_blk_sputnik1-01


Lum of New Orleans has vintage lamp bases, below, freshened up with black or white drum shades. Super stylish.175-2175-3



For shades to match existing bases, I’ve spent many a happy hour in Just Shades on Spring and Elizabeth Streets in Nolita.

You can find reproduction Fifties-style speckled parchment shades with lanyard lacing at Deadly Nightshades.