Stroll through the yellow brick alley of Chelsea Flea Market and you’ll stumble across a booth that resembles a photography shop from decades past.
Encompassed with neatly arranged ‘walls’ of vintage stamp boxes that are rustic, warm resemblances of the days of yesteryears-- entering his booth is a unique experience. Each of the ‘walls’ are filled with vintage cameras, viewfinders and binoculars that echo the mysterious, magical intrigue of photography and film. Here and there you’ll find vintage film relics that resonate with the feeling of entering the home of an accomplished photographer or filmmaker.
A warm smile from Gene, a retired photographer, will greet you as you peruse the assortments of vintage cameras and the like. The items at his booth invite you to experience and see a glimpse of the past through the lens of the past itself. If you’re lucky to walk away with an item from this booth you’ll most always find that you walk away with a deep sense of intrigue and appreciation for an artistic representation that has been far too diminished in our ultra-digital world.
Get to know Gene, his story and what makes his merchandise unique, inspirational and quintessential to NYC.
What items do you sell at the market?
I mostly sell vintage cameras, photographic items, binoculars and vintage eye wear. Occasionally some jewelry but I love anything made with lenses or glass that’s vintage—anything before the 50s.
What can shoppers expect to find at your booth?
I try and curate to make my booth look like a vintage store and match like merchandise with each other to give a presence that’s balanced enough to draw people in to the booth.
How long have you been at the market?
I was a photographer before this. My wife and I started together working on the outdoor Annex Antiques lot on 6th Ave. many years ago. She continued to do the markets and when I retired in 1995 I joined her at the Antiques Garage. Now it’s just me and I moved to Chelsea Flea Market after the closing of the Antiques Garage in June.
What do you love about the items that you sell?
I like fine objects, I know quality and I continue to learn more as I go along.
What inspired you to get into the business of selling these products?
It was a natural segue because I had a lot of cameras at the end of my career as a photographer. People are reinventing film and cameras and there’s a big surge for vintage cameras and film again from students. It’s a push away from digital and back to the past.
How can shoppers keep in touch with you?
I’m at Chelsea Flea Market every weekend so they can stop by my booth.
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