A few years ago, the decades-old Chelsea Flea Market was forced to move to Hell's Kitchen, pushed out by the bulldozer of luxury high-rise development. As flea market founder Alan Boss told the Voice, "We as Americans, having little or no culture, we figure that if you can build on two feet by four feet, you should have a building there, and screw anything that came before it." So far, business in the new location has been slow, as Chelsea Now recently reported. Like many small businesses that try to survive on new ground, it's been hard to get a grip.
the site of the former flea market
The market's move was part of a rezoning plan that was hatched back in 1995, a plan that continues to ravage Chelsea today. The soul of what remains of the market in Chelsea, the Antiques Garage at 112 W. 25th St., will likely be the plan's next victim. The building that houses it was sold to a developer for $42.7 million a few months ago. And we all know what that means.
I visited Chelsea's Antiques Garage and talked to some of the long-time vendors. One told me that he's certain 2008 will be the final year for the Garage -- info he said he got "straight from the owner." So maybe it's time to load up on vintage comic books, taxidermied deer trophies, baby-doll heads, Bakelite jewelry, Shriner fezzes, and all the other good stuff that serves to remind us that the past exists and continues along with us, no matter how hard the city's planners try to erase it from our memories.