Long before 6th Avenue in the West 20s was lined with brick and mortar storefronts lobbies with doormen; it was full of tables, tents and some of the best antiques and collectibles in New York City and the world. The over the years, the Annex Markets have attracted all types of people including public figures and celebrities.
Many Sunday mornings in the 1970s & early 1980s, a Dodge convertible would pull up to the markets and Andy Warhol would walk out and spend time exploring the markets with his eyes set on antique watches and cookie jars to add to his growing collection.
Although crowds of people used to approach him seeking an autograph or photo, management would keep them away to let Warhol shop and enjoy the market. Other times, Warhol would send someone to shop for him.
Today, you can still enjoy the markets like Andy Warhol did. Here’s how:
1.) Know what you’re looking for: Andy Warhol was best known for his love of collecting cookie jars & antique watches. (See this great article all about Chelsea Flea Market vendor, Billy Monteforte, who sold cookie jars to Andy Warhol & still sells them at the market). If you don’t collect one particular thing, go with an idea in mind of what you’d like to find but be open to finding the unexpected too.
2.) Arrive early: every insider knows that the wee hours of the morning even before the sun rises is an optimal time to head to the market for the first pick of merchandise. If you’re a serious or passionate collector, then it will certainly prove to be an investment well made.
3.) Consistency is key: Warhol frequented the markets, antiques stores and vintage shops on a regular basis. He understood that the inventory was always changing and that it really pays off to show up each weekend to see what’s available. By familiarizing yourself with the lay of the land you can get acquainted of where to look first and who the vendors are that sell the merchandise that most interests you.