For weekend shoppers in search of fashion, beauty and home décor finds, sometimes four walls and a roof are overrated. Which may be why Long Island retailers are increasingly busting out into the great outdoors, setting up pop-up shops on their property, in village parking lots and at eye-catching historic locales.
“There’s a fun sense of discovery,” says Kathy Murphy, owner of Hampton Flea + Vintage, which operates outdoor vintage markets at five East End sites including the Southampton History Museum, Montauk’s Second House Museum and Sag Harbor’s circa-1844 Old Whalers Church. “It’s like traveling in time — you go from one tent to the next, never knowing what you’ll stumble on,” says Murphy. “I don’t think you’d achieve that so much in an indoor space.”
Consider this fashion (plus beauty, jewelry, furniture and other handcrafted goods) al fresco. Retailers have been staging occasional outdoor pop-ups in recent years, fueled by the pandemic and the need for safe, wider-open space. Now, as these events grow more frequent, shoppers can enjoy some of outdoor retail’s other unexpected benefits.
“It feels like an event,” says Thea Morales, owner of Rosie’s Vintage in Huntington. Morales has participated in Huntington’s annual outdoor Shop Hop for local antique stores, but last year when she moved her shop from Woodbury Road to a 1-acre property on Park Avenue, she felt compelled to utilize the outdoor space more regularly.
She joined forces with Jacquelyn Conte, who opened her eclectic gift boutique Wit & Whim (formerly of Port Washington) in a carriage house on the Huntington property this spring. They host monthly indoor/outdoor multi-vendor markets featuring antiques, records, handcrafted goods and eclectic oddities. Like Murphy’s Hamptons markets, these events are curated, so it doesn’t feel like an every-weekend flea market.
“It’s a get-out-and-do-something kind of thing,” says Morales.
Inspired by farm stands
Like farmers markets, these outdoor venues emphasize community, but without the veggies. And sometimes with.
Patchogue’s Outdoor Market features produce plus inexpensive handicrafts by local artisans. “The goal of this market is to support small businesses, and give the people of Patchogue a fun place to shop on Sundays,” says social media manager Gina Napolitano.
The Oyster Bay Market near Town Hall only offered food when it began in 2020. Today, it showcases local shops and artists. As with many such markets, the vendors may vary weekly but bring new stock, which draws repeat customers.
“They stop to listen to the live music at the bandstand, then browse — they’ll make a day of it,” says market manager Laura Escobar.
Like shopping in your own backyard
At Farmingdale’s Back In Time, a vintage home décor and architectural salvage emporium, Jenna Napolitano (no relation to Patchogue’s Gina) hosts monthly markets in a rear courtyard-turned-event space, with live music and local produce, cheese, pickles, dog treats and more. The space boasts a bar and fire pit, perfect for wine tastings with local vineyards (like Peconic’s Pindar, Aug. 23) and cigar nights (with Farmingdale neighbor Jim’s Stogies, Aug. 30).
“A lot of people compare it to their own backyard,” says Jenna Napolitano. It’s like a family party, she adds, which seems fitting — this place is a family affair: Jenna’s parents own Back In Time and she runs the adjacent Elise’s Niece’s Café.
“You shop, then find a seat, grab a drink and relax,” she says. It requires a lot of multi-tasking to organize, she admits, “but it makes the customers feel at home and at the end of the day, it’s worth it.”
Upcoming shopping markets
BACK IN TIME, Farmingdale
441 Main St., 516-586-8443, backintimedecor.com
WHAT: Local produce (Dobler Farms, Deer Park), pickles (Horman’s, Bayville), dog treats (Barkfield Road, East Northport) and more. (For tickets to wine and cigar nights, call 516-455-7775)
WHEN: Sept. 9, Oct. 21; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
HAMPTON FLEA + VINTAGE, Montauk, Sag Harbor, Southampton and others
For addresses, visit Hamptonflea.com
WHAT: Designer vintage and repurposed clothing, jewelry, accessories, upcycled furniture and handcrafted goods from top vendors (including TT’s Closet, Babylon; Shade Armour, Long Beach; The Times Vintage, Greenport).
WHEN: Aug. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Aug. 20, 27, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
OYSTER BAY MARKET, Oyster Bay
Municipal Parking Lot, 74 Audrey Ave., 631-838-5008, oysterbaymainstreet.org
WHAT: Produce plus items from Oyster Bay shops, like upscale womenswear (Hummingbird), artisan and fair-trade crafts (Hive Market), soaps (Aya’s Place).
WHEN: Sundays, Aug. 27 to Nov. 5 and Nov. 19, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
PATCHOGUE OUTDOOR MARKET, Patchogue
LIRR Station, 48 Division St.
WHAT: Local handicrafts, including seashell planters (Dottie’s Crafts), patchwork wreaths (Susan’s Sewing and More) and cards (MK Paper Creations).
WHEN: Sundays through Oct. 29, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
ROSIE’S VINTAGE / WIT & WHIM, Huntington
187 Park Ave., 631-549-9100, rosiesvintagestore.com
WHAT: Antiques, candles, pottery, records, upcycled goods and oddities
WHEN: Sept. 23, Oct. 1, 7; Nov. 11; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.