Yard Sale Booty + Another Map Giveaway

UPDATE: Jordy P., fan of Jersey Shore yard sales, is the winner of the Texaco map – congrats, Jordy!

To enter casaCARA’s vintage map giveaway (I’m giving away a 1930s Texaco map of New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey, pictured below), all you have to do is leave a COMMENT on this post! How easy is that? (Just click on “[Number of] Comments” in small type, above.) Drawing to be held via random.org this Friday, 7/23, at 6PM.


Framed seed packet collection, 33″x41″, $30

YARD SALE SEASON IS IN FULL SWING here in the Humptons. There are so many each weekend, it’s impossible to get to all of them — or at least, it’s impossible to be first to all of them. A fair number are in older houses, and the pickin’s are emphatically not slim. They are robust.

Most people here have had some semblance of money, so one finds genuine antiques and name-brand merch of quality, like LeCreuset cookware and mega-thread count bed linens, rather than the detritus of households that never had much to begin with. Also, there’s a lot of seasonal moving in and out, which tends to lead to yard sales.

This past weekend, I was looking for a farmhouse dining table. I didn’t find one, but here’s what I did find. OK, nothing earth-shattering here. But enough to make my couple of hours driving around worthwhile.

The unusual item at the top of this post was my first and best find, around 8AM on Saturday. What is it? I’m not sure. Looks like a color-coded collection of vintage seed packets, mounted on a purple board and professionally framed in a contemporary wood frame. Whether they’re actual seed packets or perhaps prototype designs for seed packets, I wouldn’t know, unless I took the thing apart. Anyway, it’s big and graphic and I needed something for my kitchen wall.


Pair of wrought iron candle sconces, 1940s or ’50s, $10


Marble cheese board with glass cloche, $5


The 1987 burgundy, above, was my friend Nancy’s score. Could be transcendental, could be undrinkable — to be determined. $10


9″ ceramic planter with green mottled glaze marked “Made in Italy,” $5


More vintage maps! They’re 1930s New York-area maps, plus one the homeowner told me dates from his grandparents’ trip to Hawaii in 1956. I should have bought them all the first time around but contented myself with three. This past weekend, I had a second chance (people often have repeat sales until they finally get rid of everything). I got four more maps for $10. Big spender!

Now to the giveaway: I’m giving away the Texaco map pictured at right in the picture above; you can see details of it in the two pictures below.

So please let me hear from you in the comments. What are the yard (tag, stoop, garage, barn, estate) sales like where you are? Get anything good recently?



I Hate Painting

I’M THINKING RUSTOLEUM. I have a wrought iron bench on the front deck and an old metal bedstead for the guest room, both in need of some bright paint.

That’s not my bench, above. It’s from Gardenhouse, a site that specializes in reclaiming vintage outdoor furniture and accessories, and I find it way more inspiring to contemplate a project like that than what I’ve been doing for the past two days: painting the guest room.

I’d forgotten how much I hate painting walls (and ceilings – they’re the worst). Yesterday I primed, all the while trying to think who I could call to come finish the job. Today I picked the roller up again, reluctantly, bespeckling myself, my hair, and my glasses with China White. The color is creamier than I intended, but so be it. I can’t run out to the paint store as easily as I did in Brooklyn; anyway, I refuse to extend the process.

Listening to music didn’t help. I missed my daughter, who made last autumn’s painting jag a lot more fun.  The fact that I couldn’t see what I was doing added to the misery (the top coat and primer are close in color, and although I had a clamp-on light, the room was dim by late afternoon, or maybe my eyes are failing).

I vowed this would be the last time…that is, until tomorrow, when I do the trim, including a set of window shutters (shudder), and — saving the best for last — one short wall with Benjamin Moore’s Rhythm and Blues. In a couple of days, I’ll wow you with pictures.

A-Junking We Will Go

IT’S GOOD TO KNOW eBAY HASN’T KILLED IT OFF ENTIRELY. I’m talking about junking — the time-honored act of rising early and heading out to flea markets and yard sales to find old, cheap, secondhand stuff that is dinged and dented and rusted and otherwise in dire need of fixing up to turn it into something useful and charming and possibly even re-sellable.

I started junking more than thirty years ago, which only goes to show how old I am. (We were more likely to call it antiquing then — in those days, you might actually find something genuinely old for 50 cents or a dollar.) But to judge by the number of blogs about junking, and a new magazine, Flea Market Style, that debuts today, the pursuit of junk is alive and well, eBay be damned.

Personally, I no longer have the patience to turn tea kettles into lamps or doll beds into coffee tables, let alone drive hundreds of miles in search of maybe nothing. I’m jaded from years of beating the bushes here on the Eastern seaboard, while pickings got thinner and thinner — although the epicenter of today’s junking craze seems to be the heartland, where barns and attics are probably still full of desirable junk.

I’m also weary, perhaps, from three decades of writing about antiques and collecting and flea markets. I must have written forty “10 Hottest Collectible” stories. Meanwhile, Country Living magazine is still reporting on Lucite purses and wrought iron lawn furniture and restaurant china and Blenko glass as if they’re fresh discoveries. I guess, to young people, they are.

I was even half the team that created and produced an outdoor flea market in downtown Manhattan, Soho Fleas, in 1973 — so believe me, I know my way around junk. And jaded and cranky as I am, I can still muster a flicker of enthusiasm for the idea of taking a field trip this September to Junk Bonanza, a three-day annual junk round-up held in Shakopee, Minnesota (it’s the brainchild of Ki Nissauer, who is also co-editor of the new magazine).

Once you’ve got junk in your system, it’s hard to get it out.

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.

Little Shops Around the Corner


THIS fab pink armchair could be had Saturday at Yesterday’s News, corner of Court Street and 2nd Place in Carroll Gardens, for $150.



YOU HAVE TO BE GRATEFUL to people who scour the estate sales of Long Island and New Jersey so we don’t have to. Then they haul the stuff back to Brooklyn and sell it to us at reasonable prices.

If they have a great eye, like Frank Galdi, whose 20-year-old  shop on Warren just off Court in Cobble Hill (Becosmi, technically) is always filled with intriguing merchandise, so much the better.

Some recent buys at Frank’s shop (official ————————————————————-  name: Antiques Past & Present):

  • A fine-looking pair of 1950s bent plywood chairs for $225.
  • A wild red double-shaded ’50s lamp, snapped up for $175 (that’s Frank changing the bulb).
  • A pair of curvy wrought iron chairs for $165.p1030080p1030078



At Brownstone Treasures on Court between Warren and Baltic in Cobble Hill, p1030086above, and owner JP’s other store, Yesterday’s News, which is like an ongoing flea market at the corner of Court and 2nd Place in Carroll Gardens, it’s a little harder to find pieces of interest — the bulk of it is garden-variety secondhand furniture — but there’s a LOT of it and it changes constantly. And you can’t complain about the prices. The vintage wire cafe chairs in the picture above are $100 for 4.

Below, At Yesterday’s News, paper ephemera, bottom, is a specialty. You’ll also find costume jewelry, dishes, and utilitarian used furniture, sometimes even with a little bit of style.




p1030094Too bad Benny the stonecutter’s appealingly dusty and cluttered Nostalgia Antique Shop, below, tucked obscurely on Hoyt between 2nd and 3rd Streets isn’t open more often.  If not on a Saturday afternoon, when?


I’ve found worthy stuff there in the past, including a framed 1940s watercolor print of the New York skyline for $55.