Instead of battling department-store crowds or waiting for dot.com deliveries that may never arrive, why not browse through collectibles, furniture, jewelry, and artwork on the streets of Himmarshee Village to do your shopping this holiday season? The downtown Fort Lauderdale district is now home to the Riverwalk Antiques and Collectibles Market, which recently expanded northward from South Beach.
"In Miami Beach we made antiques hip," says promoter Tony Angione, explaining the market's beginnings seven years ago. "At that time there was no such thing as an outdoor venue for antiques."
The appeal of the open-air market, he offers, is the natural light; most antiques are displayed under artificial light in tiny shops or at big convention center shows -- not the best conditions for checking out pricey items for flaws.
And away from the mall hustle and bustle, Himmarshee Village really is a world of its own. "The area is kind of wonderful," Angione claims. "Riverwalk Park is a gem. Little boats go by. It's very charming and very underutilized. [The area is] mostly known for nightlife, but I think it would be wonderful if people discovered it during the day."
Discoveries at the market range from the really old to the barely antique. Shoppers can check out decorative furniture from the '70s, Art Deco from the '30s and '40s, so-called Miami deco from the '50s, and Gothic and religious items from Europe. Along the way they'll also find a host of dealers selling everything from gold Rolexes to pottery, Oriental carpets to housewares, even vintage clothing.
There are definitely bargains to be had and profits to be made. "I found a 19th-century marble bust, which was signed, for $500, which I'll now take to auction and sell for $1500 to $2100," says Angione.
Shopping and potential profit all in one day? Now thatsounds like the Christmas spirit.