Flea Market Coming to Hell's Kitchen Schoolyard

By Mathew Katz on February 13, 2012 7:34am 

HELL'S KITCHEN — The Brooklyn Flea is too cool and the wares at Antiques Garage are too old.

Kathleen McPherson hopes she has the balance just right at the Manhattan Westside Flea.

The new flea market, opening this spring in the P.S. 111 schoolyard, hopes to be a happy medium between the artisanal focus of some markets, and the pricier antiques of others. 

"We want to keep that aspect of the treasure hunt," said McPherson, 26, who will be running the market. "We're more than just antiques. We're a mix of them, the Brooklyn Flea, and junk-finding."

The goal, she said, is a place where you can buy antiques, vintage clothing, food, and handmade items, all in one place.

The new market will be open every Saturday from May 5 to Nov. 17 in the yard at 440 W. 53rd St., and McPherson hopes to transform it into a destination for more than just antiquing. It will have food vendors, a seating area, live music and even do-it-yourself lessons from vendors on topics including knitting to potting plants.

"You're going to find a bit of everything," she said. "You're coming for the day and hanging with us, not just shopping."

The market may also have a more festive neighbor next to it come summertime — Boxers, the controversial gay sports bar, will find out next week if it will get a liquor license for a location next to the schoolyard. If it does, the bar will have a rooftop patio where flea-goers could grab a drink.

In the future, the market hopes to get the school involved in some of its activities, including hosting a student-run bake sale to raise money for the school.

McPherson herself is no stranger to the flea market world — she once took a weekend trip to a flea market in Connecticut to buy an old industrial cart that became a mobile stand in her kitchen.

"It was $60, a good deal," she said, grinning. "That's what we want people to find at our market."

The market has space for 125 vendors, which will likely be an even split between antiques vendors and crafters selling their artisanal wares, along with 10 to 15 food vendors. McPherson is in the process of reaching out to local bakeries to showcase the neighborhood's pastries at a food booth.

"We're going to be a destination," McPherson said. "We hope people come from all over — from other neighborhoods, even Brooklyn." 

Potential vendors can still sign up to have a booth over the summer at Manhattan Westside Flea's website, and the market's offering discounts to folks that register before March 1. 

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