If all the stuff from the country’s basements and attics were gathered into one location and offered for sale, it would be called Brimfield.
And if you ever doubted the adage “one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure,” you haven’t been to this magical spot where the lines between junk and jewel can get so blurred that, at times, you don’t trust your own judgment. It is a mecca for tchotchkes and treasures; the Brimfield Antique Flea Markets are open for business in Brimfield, Massachusetts for five days every May, July and September. It has been America’s oldest outdoor show for over 50 years (how many transactions is that?!!)
Danica Andler (Design Director for Great Performances) and I traveled north two weeks ago in search of treasures for The Norm, a new restaurant we opened on May 19th in the Brooklyn Museum.
We were on the hunt for glasses and flatware that would compliment the unique ambiance, a beautiful dining room that blends food, art and design. We hit the fields at 7 am, loaded with an envelope of cash and a goal: to purchase at least 100 glasses by 2 pm. Easier said then done as we determined our per glass budget to be $2-3/glass. Additionally, we were looking for signature spoons and knives for charcuterie boards and dessert.
About 50,000 buyers descend on the fields over the course of five days, and thousands of vendors display their wares. Friends have told me of the houses they outfitted from the fields of Brimfield; I get it!
On my first expedition 3 years ago, I ended up buying 6 wooden library tables (from Kent State University, covered with decades of hand-carved initials), artwork, vintage blankets and periodicals.
This time, I vowed only to buy what would fit into the back of my car, and work goals were a priority. True to promise, my personal purchases consisted of a salt and pepper set along with a Sunday School vintage roll up map of the Middle East.
The highlight of this trip? Tapping into our negotiating skills. It was day one and some vendors were reluctant to release their treasures for less than a premium price. Others were delighted to put our cash in their pockets, and deals were made.
When you visit The Norm at Brooklyn Museum now, keep an eye out! Our eclectic collection of Brimfield wares will be adorning each table, from glassware to silverware.