New York City’s booming real estate development has finally caught up with Chelsea’s beloved The Antiques Garage, which is owned by Annex Markets and will operate its last shopping weekend, June 28-29, 2014.
The Antiques Garage has been one the last strongholds in Chelsea’s nearly 40 years as NYC’s flea market haven. Since 1993, The Antiques Garage has had its weekend home in a New York City parking structure on West 25th Street between 6th & 7th Avenues. The majority of The Garage vendors (90%) will move to a sister market, The West 25th Street Market, half a block away between 6th Avenue and Broadway. The flea is safely settled on the quaint block next to the 150-year-old Trinity Chapel Complex, a New York City landmark and since 1942 the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava. Annex Markets is updating the lot for current and new vendors with new pavement, fencing, and tents. Hours are 6:30am-6pm.
Several vendors will also make the move to the growing Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, running the block of 39th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. Named one of the Top Ten Shopping Streets in the World by National Geographic, Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market harkens back to the legendary Paddy’s Market, a massive outdoor pushcart mart that thrived through the 1930’s at the same location. Hours are 9am-5pm.
Annex Markets started in 1976 as a penny-jar investment on an empty parking lot in Chelsea by entrepreneur Alan Boss. The first day brought 11 vendors, a number that grew to over 600 as the markets expanded to include a string of corner lots lining Sixth Avenue and shaping an outdoor shopping and design mecca that became known worldwide. Since then, rummaging has started early every Saturday morning, with day-trippers marveling over an array of decorative arts, furniture, paintings, 19th-century jewelry, handbags, fabrics, and rugs, ephemera, and vintage clothing.
Weekends in Chelsea at the flea markets have been vital to the cultural fabric of the New York City. The markets have been shopped by the likes of Andy Warhol, Susan Sontag, Annie Leibovitz, Brooke Shields, Donna Karan, Michael Jackson, Drew Barrymore, Brad Pitt, Barbara Streisand, Catherine Deneuve, Joanne Woodward, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Todd Oldham, and many others.
- In 1976, Alan Boss marshals 11 vendors for the first day of the Annex Markets.
- By the 1980s, Boss was running weekend-only flea markets on four parking lots along 6th Avenue between 26th and 27th Streets.
- In 1999, because of a new development on the lot on the east side of 6th Avenue between 24th and 25th, the flea market moves across the street to a parking lot on the west side.
- In 2003, foreseeing the gentrification of Chelsea, Boss harkened the spirit of Hell’s Kitchen’s legendary Paddy’s Market, a massive outdoor pushcart market that thrived through the 1930’s, and opens the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market in the same location.
- In 2005, after almost 30 years of outdoor commerce-delight and top-notch haggling, the Chelsea outdoor market relocates to Hell’s Kitchen after being displaced by a high-rise residential building. Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market becomes the answer to the fragility of NYC locations that serve as outdoor markets.
- 2011: The Antiques Garage begins a month-to-month lease as closure seems imminent.
- 2014: The Antiques Garage will close. Vendors will relocate to The West 25th Street Market and Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market.
- 2014: The West 25th Street Market gets a makeover welcoming vendors from The Antiques Garage.
- Opened during a time when Hell’s Kitchen South was still the crossroads of a desolate neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market is now an integral part of the neighborhood attracting thousands of flea market shoppers to the commercial district of Hell’s Kitchen.