BEST FLEA MARKET Miami 2004 - Flagler Flea Market
A bizarre bazaar -- structurally Middle Eastern, culturally Latin American -- this supersize movable market in the greyhound track's parking lot smacks of Toffler: a futuristic mall that appears each Saturday and each Sunday, then vanishes. The dealers (Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Costa Ricans, Mexicans, Guatemalans, you name it) arrive at the break of day and, within an hour, erect pipe-rope-canvas kiosks stocked with clothes, sundries such as toothpaste and perfume, jewelry, party favors, shoes, hats, tools, pet supplies, xylography, statuary, paintings, seafood, produce, hubcaps, plants both potted and in hanging baskets, toilet seats, batteries, furniture, even electronics such as stereo and computer components. Buyers who need only, say, five T-shirts (cost: ten dollars, total) can still enjoy eight or nine hours of browsing by pondering unusual items or by overhearing a young couple -- studying gilt necklaces priced at five dollars -- ask, "Sir, is this real gold?" With food and drink, merchandise unbound, and bargains unbeatable, pop-up malls might be the way of retail for Generation Z, or whatever tomorrow's children become. Future schlock? Not if you have only five bucks and need a watch or a bottle of new cologne.