The landmark Childs Building on the Coney Island Boardwalk, which has been in use since January as the Childs Warehouse, a multi-agency program for organizations that need space for Sandy recovery projects, will host a pop-up market this summer. Called the Coney Flea, the seasonal market will operate from mid-June through October, with proceeds to fund post-Sandy recovery programs, according to the organizer’s website.
Rotating spaces with dimensions starting at 8 x 10 feet are being offered to local and regional vendors at weekly, monthly and seasonal rates. The market is expected to be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Vendors can apply online at coneyflea.com:
Vendor spaces range from $120/day to $200/day. Please mention if you are a Coney Island establishment and include details in the form below, and we can offer you a discount. One of the main purposes to opening the market this season is to help bring life back to Coney Island, and create space for businesses, artists and vendors who have not been able to reopen after Hurricane Sandy. We’re opening too, and just cleaned out our 63,000 square foot site. We know it takes a community to recover, and we’re grateful to be part of the recovery process.
“It’s a very special place,” said Dan Compitello of the 1923 Spanish Colonial Revival style building, which was designated a City landmark in 2003. He is overseeing the Coney Flea with a team that he says has a combined total of over 42 years of flea market management experience. Food vendors and arts and crafts vendors from the tri-state area have already reserved spaces, Compitello added. Our impression from talking with him is that Coney Flea will be an artsy, curated marketplace that will activate a landmark and give visitors a reason to stroll westward along the Boardwalk past the new Steeplechase Plaza.
That’s a plus, because despite the fact that Coney Flea is for a good cause we’re not sold on the idea that what Coney Island needs is another flea market. In 2009 and 2011, Thor Equities staged a “Festival by the Sea” of vendors selling tube socks, cellphone accessories, shoes, automotive supplies and cleaning products on lots where amusement rides had previously thrived. Just looking at photos of these previous Coney flea markets induces post-traumatic stress order. There was a smaller, more attractive group of vendors on Stillwell Avenue last year, a dress rehearsal for Joe Sitt’s “Retail Ride of a Lifetime.”
iStar Financial and Stone Harbour Management donate the Child’s Building in-kind to the Childs Warehouse with free rent, utilities and building maintenance. Additional sponsors of the Childs Warehouse are the Mayors Office of Community Affairs, the Brooklyn Long Term Recovery Group, and the Staten Island Long Term Recovery Group. Partners are Transform-US, Occupy Sandy, New York Disaster Interfaith Services, World Cares Center, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and Resurrection Brooklyn Relief.
Originally built as a Childs Restaurant, one of the country’s first national chains with more than 100 locations in 33 cities, the terracotta palace is set to be restored and developed into an amphitheater and restaurant by 2015. In past years, the building was used as a candy factory beginning in the 1950s and Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Rink in 2008 and 2009. Today, tourists routinely ask what are “those ruins” on the Boardwalk?
UPDATE September 26, 2013:
Summer is officially over and the flea market never opened. As a commenter said from the get-go: “Word on the street, this project is dead in the water.” Whether the flea market was doomed by permitting issues or complaints to the DOB about the stability of the building is unknown. After Sandy, parts of the facade cracked and began falling off. A sidewalk shed was installed this summer. Childs Warehouse did not reply to queries and their website is currently down.
The City’s plan to convert the former restaurant into an amphitheater for live concerts is now working its way through City Planning and the City Council approval, though it was voted down by the community board. “Clock Ticking on Plan for the Landmark Childs Building,” ATZ, September 25, 2013.
Related posts on ATZ…
January 24, 2013: Occupy Sandy’s New Warehouse in Coney Island Landmark
August 24, 2012: New Life for Coney Island’s Terracotta Palace by the Sea