Please see below for updates to this story.
A new flea market opened last weekend in southeast Harlem in upper Manhattan, where the commuter rail tracks emerge from the Park Avenue tunnel running north from Grand Central. “We’re located where Metro North passes over 116th Street,” says Bobby Smith, the managing partner for Urban Market Days. “The market is on a 10,000 square foot lot under the train tracks between the north- and south-bound lanes of Park Avenue.”
“We’re just kicking things into operation. Last weekend was our first weekend,” he says. Smith, a former Aqueduct Flea Market vendor, is partnering with a community garden shop, greenhouse, and plant nursery to host the weekly open-air swap meet. Urban Garden Center LLC has the retail rights to the empty lot under the railway, and operates there during the same hours as the flea market. Since the market is held under the elevated, it operates rain or shine.
The location also offers many other advantages, says Smith, especially access to a huge number of shoppers with disposable income, close to several mass transit lines. The Urban Market Days “pop-up market,” as organizers call it, has 65 spaces, costing $60 per day to rent. There is the possibility for expansion later on, both into another lot and indoors in the bad weather. It is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Christmas, and maybe after.
The new flea market also got a mention in the New York Daily News.
According to Smith, the market is open to vendors of new and used merchandise, whether they are established sellers, like those displaced from the Aqueduct Flea Market, or just people looking to supplement their income. Organizers hope to have new vendors and merchandise every week. “We seek to attract all types of exhibitors, both new and used, antique, green, vintage, music, jewelry, clothing, art, hand crafts, thrift items, estate sale goods, collectibles, memorabilia, and prepared and packaged food,” he says. “We’re trying to go back to the roots of the area with an open air market.”
Sept. 2 Update: Due to a medical emergency, the official grand opening has been pushed back to the weekend of Sept. 9-11.
Sept. 12 Update: Faced with insufficient vendor support, Bobby Smith is putting this market on indefinite hiatus.
Sept. 20 Update: Dimitri Gatanas of Urban Garden Center LLC has contacted FleaMarketZone with a comment on this story: “We are not hosting this event at our shop. We attempted on numerous occasions to contact Bobby Smith, and he is not responding.” According to Gatanas, there may be a market of some kind on the site in the future, most likely with a community recycling and yard sale theme rather than focusing on new merchandise sold by professional vendors.
Photo credit, with thanks: Urban Market Days.