112 West 25th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues
Saturday and Sunday 6:30 am to 5:00 pm
This is it, people: the most truly authentic flea market left in New York City is the Antiques Garage in Chelsea. It's exactly the type of market you can still find in Europe but that is fading fast from Manhattan.
Approximately 100 dealers set up their tables every weekend on two floors of a parking garage between 24th and 25th Streets. Sheltered inside from the weather, they sell eclectic antiques, decorative arts and vintage collectibles. There's silver. There's prints and paintings. There's furniture. There's all sorts of weird and interesting stuff plus the promise of haphazard luck that keeps people like us on the move and on the hunt. In short, there's old things–lots.
The craft and new jewelry makers that swell other fleas have tried their luck here, but with no success, because the crowd drawn to the Antiques Garage is too hardcore.
The Antiques Garage has been on West 25th Street since 1994. While the market has its regulars, sellers who come back week after week, year after year, there are also the occasionals from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Vermont, so there's always the chance of a fresh find.
I stopped to speak to Christina Welch, who's been an antiques dealers for twenty years, and now sells bric-a-brac right by the 25th Street entrance. She told me about the store she had near First Avenue, how her business was thriving before she stopped for five years, and how, after a divorce, she's back at it, rebuilding her business from the ground up. Cheerfully, she described how she sees her journey as a series of steps starting here at the Antiques Garage and ending up who-knows-where. She told me she loves intelligent people who appreciate art and antiques, and loves her weekends selling at the Garage, where she finds plenty to engage her.
That the Garage is a real part of the neighborhood was illustrated by the number of people walking through with their dogs. It's the type of place you can pop through on your way to the park, or stay all day, searching for treasures.
Nearby: There are several vintage stores on West 25th Street, and down the street, between 6th and 5th Avenues, the West 25th Street Market and at least two multi-dealer antique malls. A shuttle to the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market ($1 per ride) stops outside the Garage.
Christina Welch is using the Antiques Garage as a platform to relaunch her antiques business.