One of the things I really wanted to do in New York was to “do” a Flea Market to find a genuine souvenir to put on my shelves at The Towers. Lu found one in Brooklyn and another just a few blocks from our hotel in Hells Kitchen, however both were on Saturday, the day we were due to return home, which meant that we were a little distracted in keeping an eye on the time and the day before New York was hit by a nor'easter, where we experienced strong winds, sleet, snow and heavy rain (which is why, by mid afternoon, we decided to retreat to the cinema), so we weren’t sure whether they would be on, but in the end we decided to try Hells Kitchen http://www.annexmarkets.com/hells-kitchen-flea-market/
Sadly, when we got there, although the sun was now out, unsurprisingly (as Nigel shows, there were only a handful of stalls, and I only took a few photos that didn’t include a flipping monkey!
But despite the poor show I was determined that nothing would remain unscrutinised and pondered over……….
Let’s just I loved the glass lamp stands, but they had to stay.
But this tiny figure did manage to pass the room in my suitcase test and cost me $5, about £3.50 in English money. She was just what I was looking for as the perfect memento of our trip, a bit kitsch and now standing next to a bottle of my late mother-in-laws favourite perfume on my boudoir shelves. From my research I think she may be a 1940’s “made in occupied Japan ballerina figurine”. I also think that originally she would have had a lace skirt, like the one below, I may add one, one day.
Pleased with my purchase I then moved on to another stall that was quite frankly real mess and I had to really to scrabble about to see things. I found a snowman brooch of no real age and in need of a good clean, but I thought was in just the right proportion to go with the balsa house I bought in Michaels (see yesterday’s post), I paid $3 for him, that’s about £2.10 in English money, a bit on the high side, but hey, holiday money doesn’t feel like real money does it?!!
I was about to walk away, but decided to mooch some more and found this ……..
…….. a clump of plastic animals, figures and objects, all kept together on a safety pin. I asked the price – $20 (about £14), which seemed a bit much. But as I got back to Lu, it was still on my mind, it could have been the one thing that I might regret not buying when I got home. It was pretty unique (to me) and if displayed in, perhaps a box frame, it would be a really original holiday souvenir. I went back for a second look, loved it even more, so haggled it and got it for $18. Lu thought I had gone mad!
On getting back home and doing some research, I think I safely say that they are charms made from celluloid, still with their original silk threads and date from the 1930s/40s. In all there are 32 and all different, some are painted and some left “vanilla”
“Many novelty companies offered sellers a plethora of charms for them to use in a variety of different ways. Many charms were premium giveaways or were in gumball machines, etc. They were sold by the gross. So 144 charms could be purchased for a mere .70 to .80 cents back in the late 30s and 40s!”
The three above are my favourites. I have also learned that there are a lot of collectors in the US for them -
I looked on e-bay to reference them and found that the skull is available for £8.65 and on average most of the other charms are selling for around £5, so I in the end I think I had a bargain. But it’s not really about their worth, when I look at them, I am transported to my last cold and windy day in New York and that deserted market in the middle of all those sky scrappers, the sounds, the smells and my aching feet!
My other souvenir shopping earlier in the week didn’t go quite so well ……… I have wanted a kitsch Chinese waving cat forever and a Statue of Liberty to go under a dome, so I waited until we visited China Town (and Little Italy) after we were told that the prices would be much cheaper there. Well, the cat doesn’t wave ……. and the Statue of Liberty is too tall for my dome!
But, on the plus side, the dish-wash dispenser I found in Target is perfect in my kitchen and again, a perfect reminder of my holiday and the poor girl who had to look up the price online on her mobile phone at the till (can’t imagine that happening here) as it didn’t have a price on ……. but that’s a whole different story.
More pictures of our New York Adventure are available on Mums Monkey but as seen through the eyes (and stomach) of young Nigel!!!!