alameda point antiques faire: antiquing by the bay in nor cal

happy monday and greetings again from san fran! i’ve got a nice window before changing hotels and have a little time to post about yesterday’s shopping extravaganza.

my girl lynn picked me up at 5:30 am to hit the once monthly alameda flea market, (aka, antiques by the bay), touted as the largest antique market  in cali. the rumors were not greatly exaggerated, it was staggering! it’s held in a vacant, sprawling (like miles big) abandoned naval ship yard. it’s organized in alphabetical rows and each dealer has a number. it’s probably a 1/2 mile wide and goes into double letters. if that’s not enough, there are two michaan’s auctions happening down the road once you leave!

i do find everything in california to be big. the people are larger than life, the foliage, the fleas! my college roomie, mb (above left) and her girl kim knew the drill and met up with us. we were about 10 rows apart for most of the morning they finally caught up to us when lynn and i got sucked into a time warp for at least an hour.

we stumbled onto a stack of the new york times from an old library. they were enormou volumes of the actual papers from the 1920s through 40s. the were so heavy and beautiful, bound in canvas. leafing through them was true time travel.

how approps

you can click to enlarge

quel vie! the stars of broadway: charlie chaplin, clara bow and john barrymore

i could have stayed forever.  it was just an eye opener to see in the flesh, in such a tangible way, that some things don’t change.

especially black and white fashions from paris!

the want ads were all consuming!

the empire state building was almost ready for occupancy!

we finally made it out of and back into the light of day.  it’s a great market for sellers cause it’s only one day and everyone knows it’s now or never. there’s no contemplation. if you want it, gotta get it cause someone else will if you don’t! going early, everyone was really negotiable and the prices were great. i’ll do another post featuring some of the vendors cause this is a market to visit if the stars are aligned when you’re here.

lynn says there’s an influx of french influence in sf lately and we did see a lot from france.

it’s wild how an entire event is set up in a day and broken down. it’s like magic.

lisa goligtly down in row x sure contributes to the magic. below is her pretty glowing booth. (she turned the lights on but i didn’t take a pic, duh)!

and it’s incredibly organized.  you write down your aisle and booth number, pay for your stash and then go get a cart to gather it all up. then someone gets the car and you load up.  ikea style.

we decided it’s the ultimate recycling program  and it was so much fun to do it with someone so in the know. thanks for the day girl, i’ll treasure it!

by the by, lynn bought the ny times books, (the best ones at that)! so check her site out for them.

ok gotta switch hotels and clients coming in, more soon!

Photo by Lynn Goldfinger

August 2, 2010. Alameda, California, Fleamarkets, San Francisco.


  1. Teresa hatfield replied:

    Like being in a grown up candy store! Beautiful things everywhere. Thanks for sharing.
    Teresa (Splendid Sass)


  2. le petit cabinet de curiosites replied:

    Wonderful fair . I’ve heard so many times about Alameda . I will have to go one day . merci for sharing


  3. Cynthia replied:

    That was fun! I enjoyed reading the newspaper want ads and so on. I love time traveling back with all of that old stuff. Who bought the cool dress in the last shot?


  4. Patchwork Harmony replied:

    Wow! Looks really amazing! I’m totally tempted by a trip stateside now! X x


  5. J. Is a Bird replied:

    Wow how wonderful. Great pictures! I’ve bookmarked their website. That looks like a “must” for me. Looks like the weather wasn’t too hot either, which is nice for such a large area to cover.



    • vicki petulla replied:

      beautiful pictures! Love this Flea market!


  6. Lisa Golightly replied:

    Highlight of my day to see you and Lynn ! Oh how I wanted to walk off with you two into the glorious abyss ( that I never get a chance to see ! ) So glad you had fun.
    P.S. so what’s up with that hunk of hair in my face ?


  7. Kathleen Crowley replied:

    I dont go very often, because I would spend every dime I own and then be cast out into the streets with my flea market stash! But we are pretty blessed to have this here! Great post!


  8. TerriBoog replied:

    What an awesome day! I would so love to go one day!


  9. Louis Duke replied:

    that place looks so great.
    i will have to get there one day


  10. Therese Long replied:

    Hi there!!!
    I am so sorry I missed you both yesterday but so happy you had a great time. Everyone seemed to be on a high and it was a great day for finding the best treasures I’ve seen in a long time! I need to start following you. I’ll never forget when I bought your book, The Paris Apartment, I wanted to paint a Koi fish pond on my wood entry floor. That book really started the amazing DIY/Go for what you love movement!!!
    Take care,



  11. Lisa & Alfie replied:

    Oh I am doubly bummed I missed it! Next month definitely. And Lisa G, with hair like yours, there is nothing but gorgeous! Glad you had a great time Claudia! And hopefully lots of goodies! Can’t wait to see the Times.
    Lisa & Alfie


  12. jonny j petros replied:

    Hi looked like a lot of fum my favorite was those wings with the couch and shelf- I would have wanted all three I love that antiqued cream.Beautiful Pictures sincerely,Jonny


  13. kay acuna replied:

    I grew up on the Alameda Flea Market, it was 1969, the stuff flew, it was cheap, tremeaus, vitrines, all manor of french, art noveau, art deco–we really diddn’t know what the stuff was. Bed steps, the real thing, velvet, mirrors in them, they opened-up for shoes or hiding things. Chinese wedding beds from 1700’s. Lots and lots of french furniture gessoed, gold, painted, most somewhat damaged. The viet nam war was ending, the hippies were out. They had money, influence, creativity (all those drugs) and they were demanding of pretty things. They wore vintage clothes, carried antique purses. I too wore what I Could get my hands on–I’ve got plenty of stuff but if I’d known then what I know now. I should write a book, no one would believe it–I wish I had pictures. My mom sold antiques and we sold there. I’m 55 now and I still miss what it was. Enjoy it now for then will come all too soon.


  14. A Flourishing Perspective replied:

    Hey darling!

    It’s been too long since I’ve commented on here. This is a lovely post! I hope you’re having a fabulous time in San Francisco. This antique flea market looks absolutely brilliant! I want to go someday.

    What did you buy, darling?!



  15. elaine Power replied:

    Oh my gosh I wish I could have been there what a blast you had I want that picture frame :( please!!!! :) Thanks for sharing that day I loved the books too!!


  16. LadyLUX replied:

    Gorgeous pictures!!


  17. Sandra Michaan replied:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. My business partner, Allen Michaan & I co-produce this monthly antiques faire and I was delighted to see your blog. I have been a fan of your book, The Paris Apartment since it first was published. It’s true, there are many dealers at our show with French antiques and I enjoyed your photos of some of your finds. We had a record attendance that show in dealers & attendees. Please be my guest for the faire when you’re in town again. I would love to send you some VIP passes. Also, we’re producing a Vintage Fashion Faire in October for some fabulous French Deco frocks, (like your ads) if you are coming back to Bay. Your readers are more than welcome to attend our antique shows and auctions.
    Merci, Sandra Michaan


  18. Chatelaine replied:

    Wish I lived closer. I would have spent a few paychecks there.


  19. pamela replied:

    Oh, this made my heart beat faster.
    I do love those angel wings.
    And that… what is it … a birdcage??


    • Kay Acuna replied:

      It’s an atrium. In the 1970’s they were there by the dozen, pretty, some perfect, some battered, some with the original dried flaura and fauna in them. Racks and racks of vintage clothes. A man who came down her from Canada with gorgeous furs–now a no, no but full length fox, chincilla. I wish I’d taken pics–they are all in my mind. There was an old black woman who lived in China Town in Oakland, she used to buy jewelry from the Asian husbands who gambled and sold their wives jewelry to do so. I have a necklace, Taiwan glass and ivory beads with a large ivory bead unscrews at each end so the ladies could hide their dice when they could gambled–after all, it was not acceptable for a lady to gamble, only the husband. And Chantal who had dozens and dozens of antique purses, some gold, some with real stones. Another lady and her daughter, about my age, long red hair, hip hugger pants, who remained single and sold there regularly. And Sam, a really tall black man with a gorgeous wife who had spectacular antiques–he had a contract to salvage the victorian homes which were removed when the Nimitz Freeway was built–now 880 I think. He got the best stuff first. When I am at Hillsboro or other antiue shows sometimes I do encounter dealers who were at the Island Theater aka Alameda Flea Market who know what happened to some of us. We’re scattered now. If anyone out ther remembers what I remember, please email me. Perhaps we could write a book? Also, when that fire in 1980 hit the Oakland Hills, I stood in fron to my TV and commented to my husband, there burns some of the finest antiques in the bay area–they passed through the Alameda Flea market first.


  20. Dad replied:

    Great shots as always! You always bring these places back alive!


  21. leftmyheartinparis replied:

    Love your book….and now I can enjoy your blog. Thank you for all your inspiration.


  22. Sandra Conti replied:

    The photos are so gorgeous that they all took me on a mental excursion..especially the one of the apartment with the view of the Eiffel Tower..Thank you Claudia for such a wonderful treat!!


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