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Filtering by Tag: antiques

Antiques Garage: History & Highlights

Annex Markets

The story of the Antiques Garage dates back to the days of the weekend Annex outdoor lots on 6th Avenue in Chelsea. In the shadow of the Empire State Building the thriving outdoor flea market welcomed thousands of residents and tourists each weekend.


But in December of 1993 Alan Boss seized the opportunity to sublease for weekend use a two-story parking garage located on West 25th Street. It changed the script for conventional flea markets in New York City. This additional market would be indoors providing protection against inclement and winter weather for vendors with prints, maps, ephemera, and otherdelicate merchandise.


With a solid group of interested vendors on board and Alan Boss’s strong legacy of antiques and collectibles, this market became another haven for some of the city’s finest antiques and was named, naturally, the Antiques Garage.


In February of 1994 the market opened its doors. An opening party to commemorate the event was documented by New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, who was a regular at the 6th Avenue market, having once remarked, “This place makes style!”
Initially, the Antiques Garage attracted die-hard antique collectors and antique store owners in search of one-of-a-kind merchandise. But the public was still resistant to coming inside. With the outdoor market still thriving on 6th Avenue, they needed to be drawn in.


“I started giving out free coffee to the public to try and entice people to come into the Garage,” Alan recollects. Free coffee and word of mouth clearly helped. In time the Antiques Garage was put on the global map as the go-to indoor antiques and flea market in New York City.


The market grew and evolved into a distinctive subculture attracting many regulars to socialize. “After closing hours I noticed that many of the vendors and people that frequented the markets didn’t come outside,” said Alan. “It became a ‘mystical culture' built on old merchandise and one-of-a-kind stuff.


Both the Antiques Garage and the outdoor 6th Avenue flea market stood intact until the outdoor market closed in the end of August of 2005. With its closure even more people started coming to the Garage as their go-to market in Chelsea, and it continued to thrive.
Alan observed, “The Garage was always a place to do business despite the economy. Once it became a more global economy, it became less so.”


Despite impending threats from the landlord to sell the property for good, the Antiques Garage thrived in Chelsea for 20 years. It wasn’t until late June 2014 that it officially closed its doors for the last time. The headlines said it all, “The Antiques Garage was closing for good.” The looming threats had come to pass and the property was sold to build a high rise hotel.

With two decades in New York City, the Antiques Garage thrived in the midst of the rise and fall of the economy and left behind a legacy and a culture that will be remembered for decades to come. Although its exact culture can’t be replicated the life blood of the Antiques Garage lives on through the outdoor markets in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

 




The Garage Door Has Closed for Good, Now What?

Annex Markets

What happened to the Antiques Garage, the unique, one of a kind weekend antiques market that lasted two decades nestled in a dimly lit, two-story parking garage in Chelsea? The answer is clear in light of the constantly evolving real estate dynamics of New York City: the once beloved garage was sold to the highest bidder and demolished to pave the way for another high-rise hotel.

So now that the Garage is gone, what’s become of its vendors, merchandise and spirit that once significantly fueled a great part of NYC’s design and style culture?

Annex Markets is comprised of Chelsea Flea Market & Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market. [Editor’s note: Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market was merged into Chelsea Flea Market in January 2019.] Each is unique in its own respect, and many of your favorite vendors from the Antiques Garage have transitioned to these other weekend markets. Chelsea Flea Market is nestled in a parking lot on West 25th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue. Known for its great collections of American, European and Asian antiques, Chelsea Flea Market commonly beckons early buyers to get first pick of the merchandise before the markets are officially open.

Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market is located in the up and coming neighborhood of—you guessed it—Hell’s Kitchen. Walking along West 39th Street from 9th Avenue to 10th Avenue, you’ll find the entire street lined with vendors offering a variety of eclectic antiques, vintage clothing and accessories that will take you back to the past.

Where Did the Garage Go?

Annex Markets

It’s been nearly one year since the Antiques Garage officially closed its doors for the last time. After 20 years in the heart of Chelsea, this two-story parking garage was the home of some of Manhattan’s finest antiques, vintage and collectibles. Unique and unlike any other shopping experience in the city, the Antiques Garage was truly a treasure trove of shopping in NYC. The pop-up shop to hundreds of vendors that came to the market each weekend to sell their goods, the Garage was equipped with a unique finesse that welcomed all types of people to shop and explore at will.

A shield from the elements, the Antiques Garage thrived year-round even in the dire heat and bitter cold. Although it was not a conventional building, its thick walls, high ceilings and fluorescent lights exuded an unusual atmosphere for conventional shopping. But this was just one of the major factors that drew people to the Garage.

For the vendors and regular shoppers, it eluded to a sort of secret society vibe where the true insiders knew to go and find some the city’s finest antiques, vintage items and collectibles. Beyond the shopping, it was a market for mingling, experiencing and connecting with old and new friends. It was a community within a community with a presence that was seen and felt by insiders and occasional shoppers alike. Its presence in the city opened doors for many small business owners to have a reliable location to sell their merchandise without the worry of the ever increasing rent costs that are pushing many small businesses off the city landscape. The fate of the Antiques Garage was much like many real estate prospects in the city: sold to the highest bidder, demolished, and giving way to another high-rise hotel.

The echoes and memories of the Antiques Garage resonate with many and evoke a quasi- folklore of NYC yesteryears hidden from modern society. The appreciation for the merchandise that filled the Garage has not diminished and its legacy lives on through Chelsea Flea Market and Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market.