The Thrill of the Hunt at Monger’s Market

October 5, 2021

Mongers Market has what you’re in search of—and lots of cool stuff you never knew you needed.

Text by Debra Judge Silber

 

John Hiden knows it’s overwhelming. The wheeled carts, the wire baskets; the metal racks and random hardware; the balusters and ubiquitous flat-file cabinets; the rows of factory lights with dusty metal shades.

“I see it. They come in and get that glazed-over look,” says the owner of Mongers Market, the industrial salvage and antiques emporium where Hiden and some eighty other dealers peddle a dizzying array of wares ranging from vintage glassware to school bleachers. Wedged between I-95 and the Metro North tracks in Bridgeport, the former factory space is open to the public on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The former owner of Stamford’smulti-vendor Hiden Galleries devotes about a third of the market’s 75,000-square-foot sales floor to the discarded innards of worn-out factories, institutions, and office buildings. Another 50,000 square feet on the second and third floors, closed to the public, is filled, too. Because the auctions and clean-outs Hiden buys from are generally take-one, take-all affairs, he doesn’t return from a salvage trip with one Holophane light or a single wooden spool. He comes home with tens, sometimes hundreds.

For one-of-a-kind pieces, there’s the rear annex. Here, individual mongers display an eclectic mix of vintage furniture and artwork, rugs, clothing, jewelry, and collectibles. Pricing is equally indiscriminate: some sellers will haggle; others stick by their tags. Most also sell online, but nothing quite matches the dazzling sensory overload of walking the market’s aisles, a factor that has Hiden considering an admission charge come fall. There may be steamer trunks, organ pipes, and wall-to-wall doors—but, notes Hiden, “At the end of the day, what I’m selling here is the experience.”

Mongers Market, Bridgeport, mongers-market.com