Thursday, August 30, 2012

Niles City-Wide Street Sale

Unknown breed of duck purchased on Portobello Road, West London
Last Sunday, we packed up the kids and headed off to the Niles area of Fremont for their city-wide garage sale or street sale. Arriving at about noon and driving ever so gently through First, Second and Third Street in the car and eyeing all that was to be had was fascinating for me but only for a little while. While I was indeed saucer-eyed looking through the car window at some of the potential deals, I quickly realized there was no way to actually buy anything from the car. I felt a little lame actually. What was I going to do--stop the car? I can see it now. Car stopped, and me getting out with the typical half skip and a jog with my arms tucked up high towards some box full of fishing tackle for sale. Then, I give the cars behind me the semi wave. You know the presumptuous wave that selfishly assumes permission was granted by the wavee while I say,  "I won't take too long. I just want to poke through some of that tackle."

But, the slow stop-and-goes were very taxing on my passengers as well for the simple reason that they just wanted to get out of traffic and walk.  I quickly agreed. Since every street in Niles was either blocked off by barricades or by traffic anyway. No one survived long simply driving the car on the streets looking for a bargain. I did see a couple of vans here and there double parked while the patrons were trying to load in a chest of drawers or cupboards once every couple of blocks.

In fact, most visitors who made it to the Niles-wide garage sale, also had a hard time finding a place to park once they got there. It was either costly in the pocket book ($10.00 in some lots) or costly on the feet--unless you got there at 5am and parked on one of the streets very close by allotted for parking. In short, parking was a rough go.

Although Niles is not a city but rather a district of Fremont CA, Niles is definitely a distinct community, and has the amenities to pull off something like this. Having a district-wide garage sale in Warm Springs or even Centerville would not work. But because Niles has nice square blocks and a main street as its center point, it just works.

The deals were there, but they were not to be found on Niles Blvd. I love the shops like Time for Tea as well as My Friends and I, but whether it be commission or consignment that pushes the prices up for their wares, word on the Boulevard was that the prices were just too high. For example, a relatively well put together antique wooden duck, a rather small teal to be exact, was $75.00.   I have purchased more than one wooden duck before. One on Portobello road in London and two others at The Rastro in Madrid. Although this particular duck got a lot of attention, even while I was eyeing it, the poor creature never made it past the price tag tilt-n-look.

The deal of the day for me was a buying a bike part, or parts I should say. I bought two foam handlebar pads in a somewhat rare chocolate brown. I own a Schwinn Voyager SP from 25 years ago that I still ride and the original foam is on its way out.  The chocolate brown will go very nicely with the caramel and bronze tones on my bike's color scheme I think.

If you decide to go the the Niles-wide garage sale, go early and wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen. There is lots of food to enjoy as well. You'll have a good time. By Jeff Pereyda

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