Every Saturday and Sunday since October 2002, the small gym behind St. Patrick’s Church at 268 Mulberry Street becomes an indoor market for young designers to peddle their crafts. The gym that holds “The Market” is tucked away and is hard to find unless you’re looking for it, which partly helps maintain the weekly event’s allure.
“I wanted to work with artists and designers and give them a space to showcase their stuff,” says Alex Pabon, the Operations Manager since The Market’s opening. “We started out with 10 vendors and it grew through word of mouth. It’s been successful ever since,” he adds. Pabon, 29, sits on the stage each weekend and proudly watches over the success of the market, what he calls “his baby.” After seven successful years, there are now at least thirty vendors throughout The Market.
The market is open from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. to the public, who peruse the aisles looking for good deals on jewelry, tee shirts, hats, and other accessories. Some of the junky jewelry is easily spotted and mostly avoided, but can range from $10 – $50. Some of the nicer jewelry can cost up to $300.
Many of the designers collect heirlooms passed down in their own families, and transform it into one-of-a-kind pieces. Pocket watches and old vinyl records are examples of the material these designers gather to produce original creations. “Our main thing is that the vendors aren’t mass-producing their stuff. It has to be made in the city. They can’t sell here anymore if they do start mass-producing,” says Pabon of his biggest concern, along with co-founder, Nicholas Petral.
In the summer of 2002 when Pabon and Petral came up with the idea to open the market, they made a proposal to St. Patrick’s Church. “We marketed the fact that the neighborhood would benefit from a community-based event and how it would thrust new artists into the designers’ world,” Pabon says, adding, “they bought it and have been great ever since.” The two founders have a ghost partner who deals with the contract and the monthly rent fee, which Pabon would not disclose.
Tammy, a 32-year-old jewelry designer, loves the social event. “It brings people together with like minds, everyone who walks in can appreciate the creative process,” she says. Most flea market vendors have a stash of their goods at home or in the office. Tammy adds, “but here, you’re buying quality and originality. And you’re buying a piece that you won’t see anywhere else.”