Your Guide to the Best Artisan, Farmer, Food & Flea Markets


Karen Seiger, Author, Blogger, Market Enthusiast

Karen Seiger, Author, Blogger, Market Enthusiast


Karen Seiger:

What’s my story?

My name is Karen Seiger, and I am the author of the blog, Markets of New York City, and the guidebook, Markets of New York City: A Guide to the Best Artisan, Farmer, Food, and Flea Markets (Little Bookroom, 2010).

From the Hippie Fair in Rio de Janeiro, the Merced Market in Mexico City, and the food and craft markets in Mozambique to the Flea Barn off I-70 outside of Columbus, Ohio, I would rather shop in a market than any other kind of establishment.  I know all the farmers who come to my West Village farmers market every weekend from April to November.  The markets are where I have found most of my best treasures – and recently my new favorite foods too.

Guidebook and Blog

This project started with a conversation with Human Resources and a ticket to Paris.

I had been working at American Express developing business in Europe.  Lo and behold, my role moved to London, and I stayed in New York (hence the meeting with HR).  It was a good thing though – I was excited about the possibilities ahead.  But first my husband and I redeemed all our Membership Rewards points and headed straight to Paris with a beautiful guidebook in hand, Markets of Paris.

We explored that city in a brand new way, eating most of our meals at the wonderful Parisian farmers markets.  As we wandered, we started to wonder what kinds of markets New York had to offer beyond our beloved Greenmarket at Abingdon Square.  A frustrating search on the internet yielded very little information about the markets, and there was no single place to find out about them.  And so, rather than jump back into a grinding job search, I wrote a book proposal.

To end a long story that is actually just beginning, The Little Bookroom, publishers of the Paris guide and many more wonderful books, published Markets of New York City: A Guide to the Best Artisan, Farmer, Food, and Flea Markets in May 2010.  I launched this blog in coordination with the book primarily because I did not want to stop writing about the markets, but also to provide current information about everything going on in the dynamic market world of New York City.


The Markets of New York City guidebook and blog aim to:

- Promote the artisans, farmers, food purveyors, antiques and flea collectors, and visionary market managers who keep these traditional-style markets alive and vibrant;
- Gather and provide updated information about the markets throughout the city for people who are looking for it; and
- Encourage visitors and New Yorkers alike to explore parts of the city that they normally would not visit on their own.

What constitutes a market and what makes it one of the best?

Markets are places where traditionally people come to buy and sell goods directly to each other, items the seller has personally grown, handcrafted, or collected.  They are usually temporary in nature, built in the wee hours of the morning and dismantled at dusk, or at the end of a season.  But they can also be permanent locations where several vendors each have their own spaces.

I use the word “best” in this context quite subjectively.  I am not a critic; I aim to connect markets and market lovers.  So the questions I think of when I go to a market may include:

-       What is the level of quality and innovation of the items and vendors?

-       Is it an attractive or at least interesting location?  Is it easily accessible by subway and bus?

-       Is there an overall good vibe?  Is the merchandise just too good to pass up?  What about the food?

-       Is the market important to its surrounding neighborhood?

-       Is there something particularly unique about that market?

These are the things that are important to me personally.  But they also are important for a market to really “stick” and become relevant to its local constituents and then to visitors from further afield.

My Favorite Media

I have been a regular contributor on Time Warner Cable NY1 News, thanks to Kristen Shaugnessy and the awesome team at New York’s local news station. See all videos here. (You need to have Time Warner Cable to play them.)

I am also honored to contribute stories about the markets to Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn Magazines.

Looking for Something in Particular?

If you are looking for a particular type of item or market, maybe I can help.  I recently helped some dear friends source 250 delicious custom cupcakes from a baker I met at a market for their wedding.  You can find almost anything at the markets, but it helps if you know where to look.  Shoot me an email and let me know what you’re after.


I have Lauren Ruggeri to thank for the market basket logo that makes me so happy.  Lauren is also the designer for the Markets of New York guidebook.  Think Work Media made my website (thank you!).  Contact me if you’d like to know more about their services.

I highly recommend Michael Larson’s How to Write a Book Proposal. It is an excellent guide towards creating not only the creative elements, but the business plan for your book as well.