After hosting some epic events over the summer (Tiki Disco, Kim Gordon) the onetime factory that goes by the name Knockdown Center is remodeling so it can reopen as a proper arts center in the spring. In the meantime, it’s using its sprawling grounds in the best way possible: last weekend it launched a year-round flea market.
The way project manager Michael Merck tells it, this won’t be another Brooklyn Flea knock-off. “There’s plenty of flea markets happening right now in New York, so I don’t know that we’re going to have a tightly curated market; our goal is to bring a variety that hasn’t been seen much in New York.” To that end, Knockdown partnered with an “old-school flea market” guy who goes by the name English David. Last week he brought some of his fellow Pennsylvania residents down, as well as some folks from New Jersey and outside of NYC.
“We didn’t know what to expect because he doesn’t use the internet and he was just like, ‘I’m going to show up with a handful of people and it’s going to be pretty different each week,” said Merck. What they got was a good handful of vendors selling primitive furniture, clothing, and jewelry — plus some local vendors, like Bushwick-based sweater makers Salad Money, who filled out a vendor application on Knockdown’s site.
Should the concept pop off, there’s room for 82 tables. By the end of November, Merck hopes to be offering food at the market, along with artistic programming. Last Sunday, DJ Ben Pirani spun ’60s and ’70s music; this weekend Luke Temple‘s collaborator Eliot Krimsky will improvise piano scores to silent films, and there may be some pumpkin carving as well.
As for the future of Knockdown, Merck says it’s being outfitted with new entrances so its certificate of occupancy can be changed from manufacturing to public assembly, at which point it’ll reopen as an arts center for events, exhibitions and music performances. In the meantime, it may host some smaller events, such as an upcoming installation involving “inflatable domes.” (Intriguing…)
Knockdown Center Flea Market, 52-19 Flushing Ave., Ridgewood, Queens; Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Update: Knockdown sent some info about the Inflatable Domes project, which they’ll host on Nov. 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“With help from a grant from the Queens Council on the Arts, Globular Cluster, a small music/arts collective has built two large inflatable domes, one 32ft diameter by 16ft high, and one 16’D x 8’H, both designed for viewers to enter. (pictured)
Once inside, viewers engage with the domes via musical and video interactive stations (video is projected on the domes). Live musicians bring an energy and inclusiveness to the experience, employing interactive sculpture to redefine live music as performance art and bringing the viewer in on the creative process.”