The Valley Stream Lions Club hosted its 27th annual charity flea market on Saturday.
Lions Club members and volunteers gathered in the Hendrickson Pool parking lot early in the morning to greet dozens of local vendors. Within an hour, tents popped up and stretched across a large section of the lot. The event drew a crowd of thrifty shoppers and bargain hunters browsing the various booths in search of antiques, clothes, jewelry, furniture, trinkets and other finds at bargain prices.
The Lions Club uses the market as a fundraiser to support a variety of causes, from hunger relief to local scholarships. Josh Anand, 28, the club’s president, said he was happy to see members re-engaged in the community after months of near-lockdown, when Covid-19 halted many of the organization’s usual service projects and events. Last Saturday, vendors paid a fee to reserve a spot at the market.
A crew of volunteers and members from the Soroptimist International of New York City, a women’s community service organization, came to the market for the first time, manning their booth of household accessories, paintings, books and jewelry. President Marline McLean was proud to highlight the sign in front of their tent confirming that all of the money generated from the sales would go to the Education Award and Live Your Dreams Award to empower young women.
Michael Barba, a wholesale distributor who lived in Valley Stream, has been a vendor at the flea market for 20 years, selling a swath of health and beauty products and household items such as soaps and shampoos marked at a discounted price.
Greg Kaufmann, who has had a booth at the market for about five years, has collected items from “all over the place,” many of which have been gathered from his line of work as a house cleaner. Kaufman sifts through the throwaway clutter to pick out the hidden gems to be resold at the market as well as certain items he purchases himself. He describes his selection process as “very random.”
“You just know what you want to buy,” Kaufmann said. “…a little of this, a little of that.” Jacob K, 20, a Valley Stream resident who has a penchant for superhero comics, walked off happily with a handful of Kaufman’s vintage collectibles that he plans to add to the array of more than 20 vintage comic books adorning the wall of his room.
Linda Lescano, with a keen buyer’s eye, stumbled across a baby stroller she said would be perfect to wheel her 12-week-old kitten in. She also bought a “cute” iman purse at a steal price of $3 and a casserole dish.
Dariel Concha, a Valley Stream resident, displayed at his table booth his own personal fashion brand of hats and shirts known as “Time Flies,” flanked on either side by racks of his personal worn but well-kept clothing. The hat logo draws its inspiration from the logo seen on the wildly popular television show “Friends.”
“'Friends’ is one of my favorites shows,” said Concha, who considers his fashion line a longtime “passion project” of his. Concha wants to sell something that people could “gravitate towards”; the style is really “nostalgic” as fans of the show “become transported” to the fondly familiar logo.
The last booth of the market is run by Matti Gentile, 75, who has attended the flea market for two decades, showcasing her vintage jewelry, most of which belonged to her and her mother. The reason Gentile keeps coming back aside from “keeping busy” is because she likes “the atmosphere and the people that run it.”
Mayor Edwin Fare presented the Lion’s Club with citations.