Longtime Stuyvesant Town resident Dolores Dolan passed away at age 86 on Sunday, September 1.
A former news clerk at the New York Times as well as a model, Dolan was the Stuyvesant Town resident who originally pitched the idea of a flea market to management about 45 years ago, and also encouraged current management to bring the market back.
Town & Village spoke with Dolan when the flea market initially returned to Stuy Town. She was excited about the prospect and said that she was considering setting up a table herself.
“Maybe it’s time for me to get rid of some of my stuff,” she said when management announced the market would make a comeback in 2016. “That’s the idea and hopefully other people have an interest, but it’s also a social thing, particularly when the weather’s nice.”
At this year’s flea market, sellers will only be located inside playgrounds. (Pictured) Vendors at Stuy Town’s Playground 11 at the 2017 event
By Sabina Mollot
On Friday, Stuyvesant Town management announced that the flea market, which returned last year after a hiatus of over a decade, will take place this year on Saturday, April 21.
In an email to residents, a few changes to the way the market is set up were mentioned. For one thing, instead of circling the Oval and sprawling out into the loop roads, with playgrounds included, this year, the market will only take place inside three playgrounds.
Asked about this, General Manager Rick Hayduk said this isn’t to limit the number of participants. (Last year, there were over 500.) Rather, management is confident the same if not more vendors will be able to fit this way.
The new layout may also improve visibility for vendors who may have otherwise been stationed on the outskirts of the event. (A few vendors in the playgrounds and on the loops furthest from the Oval told Town & Village last year they suspected they were getting less foot traffic.)
As a former dog owner, I began Bobbie’s Martowicz’s “Stuy Town no longer fit for a dog” letter (6/29/17) with sympathy for dogs—if a bit less for their owners— but that sympathy faded as I read the first paragraph, and vanished in the second. I myself cannot bring a dog into our community because in my own eyes I cannot pass The Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge: 1. Curb my dog — as required by our laws, 2. Always have the dog on leash — as required by law, 3. Obey the size limit regulations — as required by PCVST. (I had a boxer, and would not have wanted him (Bandit) living so constrained a life as I feel is rightfully required by mass-apartment living.)
Bobbie Martowicz’s letter may be good for the troops, but it really bangs the devil out the facts. The result is a public piece of utter self-indulgence. Martowicz omits failure to curb: 1. fecal matter left (by owners), 2. urination on grass, walkways, trees, plants (allowed by owners), and dog size regulations, (ignored by owners and management). Then there is the matter of who walks whom as the dogs leads the way and pedestrians give way.
The first Stuyvesant Town flea market to be held in 17 years was well attended by vendors and shoppers.
By Sabina Mollot
On Saturday, thousands gathered around the Oval for the long-awaited Stuyvesant Town flea market, last held before 9/11.
After the attack on the Twin Towers, management cancelled the annual market, citing homeland security, but then never again held another one. This led many residents to suspect the reason had more to do with the timing as the property was going market rate and the decades-long tradition was suddenly being seen as too low brow.
However, if the event’s comeback crowd was any indication, community members welcomed the opportunity to make a few bucks cleaning out their closets.
There were 510 vendor spots around the Oval, stretching north and south towards the inside of the First Avenue and Avenue C Loop roads. There were also a handful of vendors alongside the 14th Street and 20th Street Loops and even inside Playground 11. There weren’t many no-shows for vendor spaces (two percent according to management’s count), although at least one empty spot this reporter passed by was quickly scooped up by someone with a stash of handbags. It isn’t clear how long this would-be vendor was there though since selling bags was against management’s rules. Other rules, aimed at preventing bedbugs, forbid the sale of clothing and furniture.
Jade Lee, a longtime resident who’d set up her table early, said she’d made lots of sales of books and trinkets within the first hour.
“I just wanted to get rid of things in my apartment but half of it’s gone,” said Lee, who was stationed close to First Avenue.
The long awaited return of the Stuyvesant Town flea market will be delayed by several months, management announced on Friday, due to expectations it will rain on Saturday.
In a notice to be emailed to tenants, StuyTown Property Services CEO Rick Hayduk wrote:
“With great regret, StuyTown Property Services has made the difficult decision to postpone tomorrow’s Flea Market until the Spring. The most recent weather forecast shows a high probability of rain coupled with wind gusts up to 25mph throughout the day. Trust we share your disappointment but the safety of residents and the SPS employees is and will always be our priority.”
Residents who were signed up to have a vendor space this weekend will get the first shot at a space for the spring flea. The date for the flea market has yet to be announced.
Despite the new flea coming at a price — much tighter restrictions on what could be sold, like no clothes or bags due to fear of bedbugs — residents still quickly lined up to participate. The flea was expected to have 525 vendors setting up around the Oval.
Hayduk said, “We’re saddened with this decision but seeing that the last Flea Market was over ten years ago, we don’t think another few months will take the excitement away.”
In May, Stuyvesant Town general manager Rick Hayduk said the community’s flea market, last held over a decade ago, would return, though in a much more limited fashion out of fear of bedbugs.
Then on Thursday, management announced that a date had been set — Saturday, October 1, though there won’t be a rain date due to the Jewish holidays throughout the month. The event will run from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Residents were told, via email, that if they want to participate as a vendor, the first 450 residents who apply by emailing email@example.com will be notified of the details.
Those who do will be responsible for bringing their own tables and chairs and no non-resident vendors or professional dealers will be considered.
Vendors must inform StuyTown Property Services ahead of time of what they intend to sell, and risk getting their operation shut down if the items for sale don’t match those on the previously approved list. Vendor tables might even be inspected for bedbugs.
Residents ask questions at the meeting, which was attended by around 100 people. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
Also: No permanent dog run, and no more marketing to students
By Sabina Mollot
On Saturday, Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk spoke at a meeting held by the ST-PCV Tenants Association to give updates on the property and to address tenant concerns from student apartments to rogue cyclists.
He also gave a long awaited answer to the frequent requests for a dog run — not happening — but indicated the defunct Stuyvesant Town flea market will return if management can find a way to do it that doesn’t increase the risk of bed bugs.
“They are horrific,” he said of the blood-sucking critters. Hayduk added that if the event were to be brought back, there would need to be so many items banned, from furniture to clothing, that, “The only thing left is a picture of dogs playing poker.”
When the resident who’d asked about the market responded to say she believed tenants would cooperate with whatever rules management comes up with, Hayduk responded, “It’s not a definitive no.”
David Weiss founded Zip Code Flea with his wife Linda. (Photo courtesy of David Weiss)
By Sabina Mollot
Like most people who’ve lived in Stuyvesant Town long enough to remember the community’s annual, sprawling, outdoor flea markets, David Weiss and his wife Linda continued to miss it, over a decade after its being discontinued.
And, since they know many neighbors feel the same way, the couple decided to bring the event back the only way they could — online.
Three weeks ago, they launched a website called Zip Code Flea, on which anyone living in the zip codes of 10009 (Stuy Town) or 10010 (Peter Cooper, Waterside and Gramercy) can list items for sale, at a cost of $1 per listing.
Already, it’s seen a fair amount of activity with neighbors listing castaway goods that range from used children’s ice skates to Prada handbags to offers for services like tarot card readings. Users can also list items they’re giving away and a few freebies have made it onto the page already.
“We loved the flea market and everyone who remembers it says the same thing — how much they miss it,” said Weiss, a technology writer who runs a website called Sonic Scoop. “I kept saying, ‘we need to do something.’”
Having always been a reader of classified ads, he set up a site for classifieds, which Linda, an avid online shopper, helped design to make it look more like an online store. Initially, Weiss planned on calling the creation Stuy Town Flea. “Then I realized — these things are trademarked,” said Weiss. He then decided on Zip Code Flea, figuring that would also work if the service grows, as he hopes it will, beyond its hyper-local outreach.
“We really hope this can present people with an opportunity to be able to move their stuff,” said Weiss. “It also encourages people to reuse and recycle. Why get something new that has to be trucked in by UPS when there could be the same thing on sale in your building or next door?
“The other thing that’s really important,” he added, “is that people need money. This is a useful tool for raising a little cash.”
The Stuy Town flea market (pictured) stopped taking place over a decade ago. (T&V file photo)
Currently, the most common items for sale are clothes for children and babies and the site is aimed at being as family-friendly as possible. (Residents hoping to make a few bucks off of their old Playboys will have to look elsewhere.) As for how buyers pay for the goods once an item is sold and how it gets delivered is up to the buyer and seller to work out. Zip Code Flea doesn’t have a function enabling online payments, with Weiss expecting that most people will opt for hand to hand transactions.
“Because of our local landmarks that exist, people are a lot more comfortable being able to say, ‘I’ll meet you at the fountain,’ for example,” said Weiss.
But of course, there’s always the likelihood that not everyone using the site will have neighborly intentions.
That said, Weiss said he hopes the hyper-local angle will make his site a safer alternative to the online listings giant Craigslist.
“A lot of people don’t feel comfortable using it because it casts too wide of a net,” said Weiss. “The inspiration (behind Zip Code Flea) is the Stuy Town flea market. It was such a great way for people to offload the things they didn’t need anymore and get something new and it allowed us to see each other in this concentrated, festive atmosphere. We’re sorry as anybody that it’s gone. It’s important to allow people to connect in this way.”
As StuyTown and Peter Cooper have a new manager, I say “Welcome.”
I’ve noticed that at all of the functions sponsored by them, there are quite a lot of friends present who are not residents. I also know that there are lots of apartments occupied by noisy NYU students and not long-term tenants.
I have an idea that will solve this dilemma: Bring back the wildly popular flea market! This two-day event brought everybody outside, especially friends of tenants! Even my cousin from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (over 90 minutes away by train on any weekend day) brought two friends for a full day of browsing, shopping and fun. It was a big event for both kids and adults. I’m sure that prospective tenants showed up, too. What a wonderful way to introduce a new group to living here!
Flea markets of this type are not “low brow” events and do not attract undesirables. It was a stabilizing occasion, one that so many of us miss, my family included.