Thursday, May 6, 2010


[FAR TOP] Vintage brooches at NYC Flea Market

[ABOVE] Harry.

THROUGHOUT the week, it is just one of NYC’s many underground parking lots.

Located on 24th St, between 6th & 7th Ave. As all the cars clear out on a Friday afternoon, no cars are allowed to park in their till the following Monday morning as the underground Parking lot turns into a Vintage flea market called GARAGE MARKETS.

Rugged up like I was embarking on Antarctica, I had read about this market in a NY ‘Things to See’ Guide & made my way underground to check out what the GARAGE had to offer. As I walked down the cement ramp, I could see across the entire market, vintage brooches, cameras with worn leather casings from the 1970s, one gentleman had old newspapers that where yellowing from age, each had a history defining front page , ‘MAN WALKS ON MOON’, ‘JFK SHOT’, 'MARILYN MUNROE FOUND DEAD IN HOME’. It as like an emporium of yesteryear.

As I wandered around the market, I stopped & looked at the different stands, I listened to the conversations being had between customers, between stall holders, bartering & the craziness of all of it put together into a huge cement carpark, usually idle with waiting cars & now alive with people & conversations.

I spent some time looking at a stall that had four large tressel tables, each with ends touching to form a square. Allowing no table space to be seen, the tables where covered with vintage brooches, earrings, necklaces & charms. I circled the stall for about 20 minutes picking up charms to have recast into our jewellery ranges, vintage animal brooches & random coins.

I held out my selection of jewels to the man behind the tables. He was probably in his mid 70’s, had on a grey sloppy joe with an old, worn navy parker over the top. His beanie was like the one Rocky wore when he was running in the snow & as he took the jewellery from me, his hands looked like they had lived a full life, scuffed & scratchy with dirt under his fingers nails.

‘I’ll take these’ I said.

‘Good choice Blondie.’ He said in the most authentic old school New York accent I have ever heard, ‘Where you from?’

‘Australia’ I replied.

“Thought so. I used to be in love with a girl from Australia. She was bew-udiful ,’ He said instantly transported to his affair with the Australian woman. ’God that was a long time ago, must have been the late 50’s, or, wait, maybe it was the early 60’s. She was over here, trying to make it as a singer. ‘ I smiled at him. ‘We were so in love, absolute love of my life, Blondie.’.

‘What was her name?’ I asked.

‘Elaina... or Evette, or was it Evetta...?’ He trailed off trying to recall the love of his lifes name. ‘You remind me a bit of her, she was tall & blonde too.’

I smiled at him, secretly amused at his clear passion for this woman from his past, yet unable to recall her name. “We spent one night together.’ He continued, ‘She was singin’ in a bar I was workin’ in, givin’ me the eye all night from the stage you know?’ as he raised an eyebrow in my direction, I didn’t know, but nodded anyway. ’So when her set was over, she came up to me & said ‘I’m new in town, would love for you to show me around’ I couldn’t believe it, she was like goddess. We walked & I showed her the city. It got to about 4 o’clock in the morning & I asked her where she was staying so I could walk her home. She took my hand & looked up at me & said ‘I’m staying at your place’.

By this stage, He was so transported to that night with Elaina, or Evette or Evetta, that I don’t even think he remembered he was talking out loud. ‘We spent the night together, it was amazing. Best f#%k I have ever had in my life.’ Hoping he had some concept he was still talking out loud & was not going to give me a run down of their bedroom antics, he continued, ‘We fell asleep as the sun was waking the rest of the city up & when I woke around lunch time, she was gone. And that the last I ever heard from her.’ His voice trailed off to silence. There was a pain in his voice of loneliness. Of loneliness then & loneliness now.

‘What’s your name Sir?’ I asked interrupting his trip

down memory lane.

‘Harry’ he said as he handed me the jewels in a crumpled paper bag.

‘Nice to meet you Harry, My name is Samantha.’ I said looking him directly in the eye.

Nice to meet you to Blondie" he said, clearly not one for names.

Hey Harry,’ I said as I started to move to the next table.

‘What is it Blondie?’ he said raising his eyebrows as if he could take or leave what I was about to say.

‘Elaina, Evette, Evetta.. Whatever her name was, to get to spend if only one night with you, she was one lucky gal.’ I looked at him a wry confidence spread across his face. ‘Thanks for the jewels,’ I said as I jiggled the crumpled bag.

‘Your more then welcome Blondie.’ He said with a twinkle in his eye.

I smiled at him as I walked away. - SW

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