Third Avenue Flea Market
The Third Avenue Flea Market is located in the middle of a remote stretch of Gowanus. It’s as if the owners intentionally set out to find a location almost devoid of foot traffic. But that’s a plus for the consumer as there’s ample room to browse undisturbed; you’ll never have to contend with other bargain hunters for the choicest goods. The place makes up for its lack of human vitality with a certain hysterical plenitude that suggests unlimited possibilities. It’s a colorful, cluttered cemetery of commercial failure, a bonanza of surplus uselessness that never fails to give me frissons whenever I visit. I often imagine I could be a regular there, not unlike the people you see hanging out at delis and garages—drinking coffee, kibitzing, and basking in the warm glow of stimulating, familiar surroundings.