Famed flea market in Chelsea has closed

December 30, 2019

The Hell’s Kitchen Antiques Fair & Flea Market closed in 2018; Photo by S.J.I on Flickr

After nearly five decades in operation, a famed flea market in Chelsea officially closed on Sunday, the New York Times reported. Alan Boss, the owner of the Annex Antiques Fair and Flea Market, which first opened in 1976 on a corner lot on West 25th Street, said the landlords did not renew the market’s lease. While Boss said he hoped to find a new location, there isn’t much remaining in the expanding neighborhood. “The current location was the last available lot of any size,” Boss told the Times.

The market once included seven separate lots with hundreds of vendors, attracting celebrities, antique-lovers, and artists, including Andy Warhol in the 1980s. “He bought vintage watches. He bought cookie jars. Nobody cared about cookie jars until he started collecting them,” Boss told the Times, referring to Warhol’s visits to the Chelsea Flea Market.

The parking lot was leased from Manhattan Parking Group, with shoppers filling the Chelsea location every Saturday and Sunday. According to Boss, the landlords did not renew the agreement. Real estate development has previously pushed out the flea markets in Manhattan.

In 1994, Boss opened the Antiques Garage on West 25th Street and it closed in 2014. He opened the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market on 39th Street in 2003; it closed two years ago.

Last week, Jeremiah Moss first reported the rumors of the market’s closure on his blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York. “What I’ve witnessed, is that all of these idiosyncratic spaces, when they’re destroyed they’re invariably replaced by something very uniform and sanitized,” Moss told the Times.

One of the city’s longest-running markets is offering to help displaced vendors of The Annex find a new home. The Grand Bazaar NYC is willing to take in about 50 new vintage and antique vendors at their 100 West 77th Street location, which runs every Sunday between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m, the group told 6sqft.

Marc Seago, the president of the Grand Bazaar, visited vendors during the flea market’s last day on Sunday. “The energy was good but one could sense fear and uncertainty of what’s next,” Seago said in an email. “Many of the dealers are quite heartbroken and many are still in shock. Some are hoping that it will reopen again and the outlook doesn’t look promising.”

According to the Bazaar, more than a dozen vendors have expressed interest in selling at the Upper West Side market.

[Via NY Times, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York]


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