Over the summer, I moved to Brooklyn. One of my favorite things about the neighborhood (besides all of the wonderful tattooed hipster-y men) is the lack of major corporate stores. I can shop at local boutiques and flea markets alike, finding unique, locally produced and handmade goods. I know where my money is going, and I can feel good knowing I’m supporting small local businesses. That sort of intimate community shopping experience is hard to find in Manhattan, where retail chains and department stores reign supreme. This weekend, however, I discovered exactly the sort of shopping experience I enjoy at the Chelsea Bazaar.
This one-day indoor fair, held in the Altman building on west 18th street, was like a mash-up of Williamsburg’s Artists & Fleas, the Brooklyn Flea, and a public wellness fair (out of place, maybe, but it meant free yoga and Pilates classes! I’m all over that). The market itself was fairly small, but housed an impressive variety of vendors selling everything from handmade jewelry, natural handcrafted soaps, vintage clothing, and yummy treats like brownies (and booze!) to fuel you up for more shopping. The common thread: all of the merchants featured at the Bazaar were small, local New York City businesses.
The city itself doesn’t make a profit off of the Bazaar: admission is free, and the money consumers spend at the Bazaar goes straight to the designers who produced the goods for sale. The goal is to showcase businesses that have something special and to make New Yorkers more aware of how we spend our money; it’s better to put it in the pockets of our neighbors than in the fat wallets of corporate CEOs.
The market that I went to was not the first of its kind: over the summer, the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce hosted the first Chelsea Bazaar, and due to incredible success, decided to host it again. They’re planning on setting up the market more frequently as it continues to be met with positive feedback. So even if you missed this weekend’s market (and its free Halloween candy), keep your eyes peeled- the Chelsea Bazaar is sure to return again. And in the meantime, check out the vendors that were featured at the market and support ‘em! Nothing like a good excuse to go shopping….