Newgard Avenue between Devon and Pratt
Who doesn’t love a neighborhood-wide garage sale? Hundreds of households packed into a four- or five-block grid, all opening their carports and yards to the traffic of used goods. In just a few hours and without using a drop of gasoline (although it helps to own a rolling cart of some sort) you could furnish a dorm room, clothe a toddler, or fill out any mid-90s-leaning CD collection. Chicago has several well-known annual neighborhood sales (the Lakewood-Balmoral Yard Sale, the Bowmanville Street Sale, the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association Garage Sale), and seasoned secondhand shoppers look forward to them with the same anticipation children reserve for the coming of Saint Nick. And these stalwart sales, like sports teams, are marked by dynastic reigns—periods of time when each event featured more collectible vintage and antique furniture than used baby clothing.
For the past several years the crown jewel of the neighborhood sale season has been the Newgard Neighbors Sale, a community-run yard sale limited to a four-block stretch of Newgard Avenue in Rogers Park. Geographically it’s smaller than most block sales, but Newgard is a street where, it seems, almost every vintage and antique dealer in the city happens to live. Sure, 25-cent toys and Target soap dispensers still litter the front lawns, but you might also find classic Scandinavian chairs with refinished leather upholstery, industrial brushed-metal tables and cabinets (sold by a dealer who also supplies the Andersonville boutique Scout), or retro pieces offered at bargain-basement prices by collectors in the midst of a style changeover. Last year I bought a black vinyl midcentury sofa for—seriously—$20.
Newgard resident Amy Zimmerman has been organizing the sale for the past decade and admits that among the 20 to 35 households that participate, there’s an unusually high number of antique dealers and collectors. “Newgard is a very eclectic street,” she says. The sale is usually held in August but might jump to July this year, so keep an eye on the classifieds.