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Spending Twenty Minutes At District Flea's Opening Weekend

D.C. is filled with visually exciting public spaces. To get an idea of how people are using these spaces, Curbed writers are spending twenty minutes in a given location and taking note of what they see. Want to nominate a place for this series? Hit up our tipline. On Saturday, Curbed DC contributor Danielle Cralle spent 12:30 p.m.-12:50 p.m. taking note of the goings on at District Flea's opening weekend. Curbed network photographer Rey Lopez also spent the day there, so this installment has some of his photos as well.

[All photos unless otherwise noted by R. Lopez]

12:30 p.m. — I approach the once empty lot on 9th and Florida, ready to get the live-blogging started. The lot has transformed, maybe it's the outdoorsy-ness or the lemonade stand in front, but it finally feels like Spring. I immediately notice just how variant the people are. The space is filled with hipsters, students, older folks and buyers and sellers and a slue of dogs. With owners.

12:31 p.m. — I decide to veer to the right and my first stop is a vintage eye-wear stand. The shop girl describes them as Mad Men style; she might be right about that. None of the frames have lenses, but they are pretty unique.

12:32 p.m. — It's becoming apparent that the sun is deceptive and the wind is serious. As if reading my mind, a girl behind me remarks that she thought it was warmer than it is. I continue towards a booth selling fresh cut, colorful flowers. Apparently, the buds come from local flower farms. I tell the woman her flowers are beautiful, and she tells me they were better before the wind got ahold of them. Touche.

12:33 p.m. — Ahhh, I almost got sidetracked by the food trucks, but I'm back on track. I walk to a booth that boasts old-school advertisements, balls covered in seashells and pictures of the human body. Normally, this would be random and unrelated, but at District Flea it fits right in. This stand is a hodgepodge of things, for sure. Still, it's time to move on.

12:34 p.m. — There are thousands of pop up vintage clothing stores here. Ok, I'm exaggerating but there are quite a few. In the wind a dress blows on a mannequin. I look closer and see that it's a cowgirl, complete with a pistol holder and wooden horse. Apparently, and according to the sign, this is recycled glamour. I step closer and I can hear French music playing from the booth. The owner of the shop has on unique red velvet shoes and I overhear her tell a patron that she'll be here every weekend, for the next seven weeks.

12:36 p.m. — I fight past the clothing booths and run into a couple that sells tennis rackets, that have been converted into chalk boards. Seriously. They take the strings out, put some chalk board-stuff in place and draw a picture of Abe Lincoln or the Capitol building on it. Then they sell it. Apparently, their living room is a mess, but they seem happy enough.

12:39 p.m. — Ha! This place has fur pelts. Just what I needed. Actually, it's a collection of fur and leather accessories. This might be my favorite, largely because the brown leather and soft fur items make me feel rustic. The designer tells me that she mainly uses fox and linux - whatever that is.

12:42 p.m. — I stumble across the coolest chair. Hand carved and painted red with a floral printed seat. The man who designs the furniture tells a patron that a particular wooden table used to be his grandfather's fence. And now I feel like the least resourceful person ever. His collection includes jewelry boxes, candle holders and picture frames. Everything looks handmade, and it's all authentically beautiful.

12:45 p.m. — I've made my way to the other side, finally. There's a man holding what I hope is a toy rifle. He puts it down and walks away. Oh no, it's real. Heavy and rusted, it reminds me of a piece of Civil War memorabilia.

12:46 p.m. — Like everything at District Flea, the clothing/furniture shop in the back is hard to place. There are mod style shirts that would put Austin Powers to shame, but there's also some pretty decent furniture including a sturdy black leather couch. Hipster paradise?




12:47 p.m. — I run into a pile of large, rusty aluminum letters. So that's pretty cool. Actually, I seem to be in the midst of another booth. Behind the letters is a couch on wheels, and you know what? It's pretty cool. Apparently it's an old cart from the Hershey factory, with a cushion on it of course. People are gathering to take pictures of the letters, and I hear a woman in front of me exclaim that she loves the couch. I might have hit the flea market jackpot.

12:48 p.m. — I move to the middle and I'm surrounded by steel. There are some sort of industrial looking bookshelves and chairs all around me. "You do very nice work," one patron exclaims to the guy manning the booth. He more than confidently thanks her.

12:50 p.m. — There's a 1920s steel dresser to my left, and though that sounds weird it's also a supreme piece of craftsmanship. I'm glad I ended things here.