Vendors at Brooklyn’s Morbid Flea Market Embrace the Weird


The Morbid Anatomy Spring Flea Market at the Morbid Anatomy Museum (424-A Third Avenue) in Brooklyn was born from French expat Laetitia Barbier’s memories of hitting up flea markets on Sundays in Paris, which were full of all sorts of items, from the traditional to the strange (strange as in, full skeletons).

“When I was in Paris I would go to the flea market all the time,” Barbier says. “It’s an afternoon of fun, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money.”

She’s done her part to bring that experience to the Morbid Anatomy Museum, where she’s head librarian and program director, organizing the flea every few months between March and Christmas. This past Sunday was the first flea of the year, which included nine vendors who sold a variety of items, from antiques and old books to jewelry made of bones and live taxidermy.

Vendor and artist Elizabeth New says some items just become strange with age: “What we see as weird now was maybe less weird then.”

It was up to Barbier to spread around the types of weird, as square footage inside the Gowanus museum is at a premium.

“Because the space is fairly small, I try to curate it to have a little bit of everything for everybody. We try to push different buttons,” says Barbier.

Vendor and artist Wilder Duncan says the strangest thing he’s found was a donkey skull in the Nile River. “There are things that I keep to sell,” Duncan says, noting he holds back items with sentimental value, things like the “first skulls I found in the woods.”

Barbier says the next flea is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, June 28, at the Morbid Anatomy Museum.

During the flea, Duncan was selling a pair of antique bone saws, which drew interest from a few customers.

“It’s just another rounding-out of making it work in New York, you know?”

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