Flea market coming back to Chelsea under new management

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The Chelsea Flea Market in September 2014. (Photo by Larry Baumhor)

After the Chelsea Flea Market closed down at the end of last year, a new flea market is set to take its place starting this spring.

The flea market will open in April at the same location, at 29 West 25th St., between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, but under new management, as first reported by Gothamist.

Operators of the Brooklyn Flea will run the market, which is to be called Chelsea Flea and will be open year-round on weekends, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Opening weekend will be April 4 and 5, Eric Demby, co-founder of Brooklyn Flea, told this paper.  

“We have spent the last several days—since signing our lease just last week—searching far and wide for longtime dealers from the 25th St. lot and the old Garage location,” Demby said on Jan. 28, “to offer those folks a spot at the new market, as we believe they deserve to be at the core of the Chelsea Flea’s future.”

Demby said over 30 vendors had been booked so far for the opening weekend, “and anticipate that number going much higher in the coming weeks.” 

The Chelsea Flea Market, which had Andy Warhol as a regular, was previously run by Alan Boss, who ran Annex Flea Markets since 1976, which included several locations in the Chelsea area. When the lease was not renewed for weekends, the Chelsea Flea Market held its final days on Dec. 28 and 29 of 2019.

Items at the Chelsea Flea Market in July 2014. (Photo by Larry Baumhor)

Other Annex locations nearby included indoor market The Garage on West 25th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, which closed in 2014, and Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market on West 39th Street and Ninth Avenue, which consolidated with Chelsea Flea Market in January 2019.

Brooklyn Flea also operates the Brooklyn food market Smorgasburg. Demby said of Chelsea Flea, “We will incorporate 5 or so food vendors into the market, much as the Brooklyn Flea has done for years, but food will not be the focus, just an amenity.”

Demby said he hoped to keep the flea market tradition going in Chelsea, while also moving forward and attracting new people.

“Our hope is that by returning New York’s biggest and highest-quality vintage and antiques market to its status as a regional and global destination,” Demby said, “we will bring back many longtime buyers while attracting a new generation of shoppers who constantly seek out what’s unique and special in style and who care about current fashion’s impact on the environment and climate.”

Demby said a decision hasn’t been made yet whether to continue the flea market’s previous early-bird hours, from 6:30-9 a.m., but he added they are leaning toward keeping those hours in place.