COMMUNITY: Astoria Market, Queens, NY, NY

Astoria market

Early Morning Set Up

I spent my Sunday this weekend working a table at the not-quite-a-year-old Astoria Market in Queens. A small DYI market that has sprung up in a totally cute cultural center on a shady side street in the old Greek neighborhood. Not to confuse you but the cultural center is not Greek, it’s Czechoslovakian and Slovak. What can I say? Astoria, like much of the city, is a traditional melting pot. And like many other out-skirt neighborhoods with easy access to Manhattan, it’s slowly being infiltrated by people like myself; young, educated, artsy types looking for a price break, some trees and still great, city living, amenities.

Astoria Market is the latest in a borough wide rush for crafts, young designers and hand crafted art. I was invited to participate at  the July 10 market by Diane, one of the founders, who linked with me through the THREE Erin Cadigan shop on Etsy. I did a bit of research before plunging in. I found it to be a typical new school flea market sales venture with a mix of handmade, baked and vintage goods. The website was a bit less auspicious then I would have liked but I definitely understand the amount of time and energy getting any kind of business off the ground can require. At best it was easy to navigate, informational and had some great photos. I do think the address (which by the way is 29-19 24th St. Astoria Queens 11102 ) could be a bit more prominently displayed as I had a hard time locating it myself Sunday morning when I tried to mapquest directions. At any rate Diane and staff seemed to have it together enough for me to give it a shot. Again, part of my decision making process was an awareness that this market is not even a year old! I know through word of mouth from close friends that worked it at the beginning, that the amazing Brooklyn Flea, had it’s growth period as well.

When I arrived Sunday on the kind of gorgeous sunny summer morning that spoke of a hot city afternoon, I found the space to be delightfully spacious, organized and cool. Each vendor had their own space complete with table and chair with plenty of over hang should you have a rack, set of shelves or self made ladder contraption like my neighbors. I actually found the lack of welcoming committee or sign in staff a relief and just cruised around the well maintain rows until I found my name clearly marked on a table top. I was thrilled with my spot. A conspicuous table that backed up to a wall, right next to a door that led to the Bohemian Beer Garden the cultural center shares it’s land with. Hmmmm? What? OH! Did I forget to mention the world famous, century old Bohemian Beer Garden that’s part and parcel of this market? Yeah, it’s pretty epic. One of the most visited spots in Queens, it definitely helps the prepubescent market keep a steady flow of customers, especially as the day wears on.

So. How was the market? I found it to be very well curated. There was a perfect mix of jewelry, clothes (both vintage and new), paper goods, knit items and art. Perhaps you could throw in a few more craft food vendors but all in all it was an interesting and balanced mix of items, well placed to not compete with their immediate neighbors. Obviously a lot of attention to detail went into the planning of the space. The space itself was kept comfortably cool and was very well lit. Though it wasn’t ever ridiculously crowded, I more then made my fee back, handed out a nice amount of business cards and really enjoyed the other vendor interactions. It was a bit more then I was expecting in an outer borough on a summer afternoon. Word of mouth from some of the vendors who have been there since the beginning is that they killed it last fall in the holiday market lead up. If Astoria Market has been as well run and well curated since it’s inception, I find that unsurprising and am looking forward to participating more. I say give it another year and this market will be rivaling The Flea as one of the premier crafts spots in the city’s outer boroughs.

7/10/11 astoria market three erin cadigan booth

The Sweet Spot

booth astoria market three erin cadigan

Would you like a business card?

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I made a bunch of great friends and connections at market on Sunday. The vendor camaraderie was high and that always makes for a fun day for vendors and shoppers alike. My two favorite co-conspirators were Roger and Melissa, and not just because Roger gave me free treats and Melissa purchased a shirt. These two shared a booth cadi-corner to mine, they were friendly, outgoing and had great products. Roger produces small quantity batches of haute couture rice crispie treats aptly named Rogers Crispie Treats, with Sunday’s selections being Peanutbutter Blueberry, S’Mores and my fav, Girl Scout cookie Samoa inspired, The Rock. Melissa does beautiful chunky gem stone and link jewelry under the name Lady M Designs.

lady m jewelry jewelry astoria market

Lady M

gourmet rice crispie treats flavored rice crispie treats

Captain Crispie

Some of the other great people and crafts to be found.

M Voli E by native New Yorker, Marijana Sprajic, who hand knits intricate and funky recycled jewelry and bags. She has been with Astoria Market from the get go.

Tella Press by Donatella Madrigal. Dontella makes elegantly simple letter press greeting cards, my favorite of which came with a skeleton key and read “May you find that all doors open”. Indeed.

Pistol Hot Jewels by Ariel Munzer. Adorable, funky, vintage upcycled jewelry with a twist of late 80s rave and punk rock. My husband bought me the most divine green jeweled puppy necklace, hard to describe but AMAZING!

Sue Stitch by new mother Sue Emara. Old school knit items like grandma would have made for you, true comfort art. I wish I had snagged a shot of her son because his brown baby eyes were captivating!

1AEON by Gabe. A really cool t shirt line combining electric colored hand dying with deep black photographic images.

Black Lamb by Rachel. A vintage, handmade and upcycled clothing and accessories brand for men and women.

Sanjules Art by Sandra and Julien. Very afro-centric, brightly colored line of tees and accessories. Their chain drop feathered earring were to die for!

Belle Ami Crochet by Mary Grabenstatter. Quite honestly if there is a better crafted, cuter line of crocheted characters out there, I don’t even want to see them. I’m in love!

Like I said earlier, it’s a melting pot just like the rest of this fabulous city. So drop by the website’ blog to see the upcoming market schedule and participating vendors. I know for sure the next one is July 24, open 2-7pm, swing by, shop, have a drink. Did I mention it’s right next door to an amazing Bohemian Beer garden???

Artist statement and product M Voli E

M voli E

Marijana at M Voli E

letterpress goods paper goods
Donatella and husband Mark

The adorable Ari of Pistol Haute Jewels

HAUTE!

Beautiful mom Sue Stitch

Black Lamb hand crafted vintage

great tshirts brooklyn local

Gabe and his outstanding 1AEON tees

awesome crochet dolls cute stuffed animals

Mary and her cast of crochet characters

Sweetie Sandra from Sanjules  

Really. Could you be any cuter????

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One Response to “COMMUNITY: Astoria Market, Queens, NY, NY”

  1. Melissa Roth Says:

    I love the Astoria Market! This is a great blog and such a perfect description of the event. And your merchandise (as is all of the vendors’) is amazing! =)

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