Did you know? Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market (HKFM) beckons back to the days of Paddy's Market that existed in the very same place in the 1870s to the late 1930s. The history of NYC is never buried but always just given an additional layer to continue the same great story about the boroughs that make up this great city.
Back in the days when the Empire State Building was the tallest building in NYC and the Ninth Avenue El train was still in service charging just a nickel per trip, a thriving market, known as Paddy’s Market, spanned Ninth Avenue between 38th Street & West 42nd Street. Push cart vendors would roll into the market selling anything from the local catch of the day to produce to household items. The bustling market existed as a major place of commerce to the neighborhood predominately inhabited by immigrants.
With the construction of the Lincoln Tunnel in 1937 the market was forced to a vacant lot and eventually closed for good on July 16th, 1938. It wasn’t until the early 2000s when the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association and the Design Trust for Public Space approached Annex Markets owner, Alan boss, about opening up a flea market on the street in Hell’s Kitchen. They had been searching for ways to revitalize
Hell’s Kitchen specifically around the Lincoln Tunnel and a market seemed like the perfect solution; thus formed the inception of Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market.
On May 6th, 2003 the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market opened for the first time. Chock-full of vendors selling everything from handmade soaps to antiques to produce to vintage clothing the market debuted on the scene of Hell’s Kitchen as a success. The market still lives on today as a market in the community and for the community, and as a global destination for tourists and New Yorkers from all five boroughs, too. For every HKFM shopper, the market offers a unique NYC experience: a pedestrian-friendly treasure-hunting adventure with a special feel of history and neighborhood. Although the surroundings have changed, the mission behind the market remains the same: to create a community asset providing livelihoods while also harkening back to the days of open-air markets as community gathering places.