“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but inside it’s so delightful,” not exactly the lyrics to Bing Crosby’s trademark song “Let It Snow,” nonetheless, those were the sentiments being echoed throughout the evening at the 69th Regiment Armory during the preview party for the Gramercy Park Garden Show. In stark contrast to the weather outside, with a March snowstorm painting Manhattan white, the interior of the armory was a lush and green gardenscape, screaming of the pending spring season that gardeners hope is just around the corner.
Despite the wintry weather, a huge crowd turned out for the preview party on Thursday evening, March 2, a benefit for the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Shoppers rushed onto the floor despite their dreary downtrodden winter mindset and they were quickly transformed into an energetic bunch thinking only of gardening and getting into the outdoors decorating mode
The two front booths of York, Maine, dealer Bob Withington and Bridgehampton, N.Y., dealer Schorr and Dobinsky set the tone for the show with not only stunning merchandise, but also an air of extravagance and elegance.
Withington displayed an impressive set of eight massivecircular cast stone planters from the early Twentieth Centurymolded with a Byzantine decoration, each stuffed full with a dwarfpine. The dealer ringed them around the sides and across the frontof the booth, leaving a center aisle open that, cornered by lightposts, led into the plush booth. The set did not last long with asold tag popping up just after the preview opened. Also sold withinmoments of opening was a huge terra-cotta olive jar and a cast ironturtle.
Schorr and Dobinsky came to the show prepared with a fist full of sold tags and they were quick to start distributing them about the booth. A wonderful massive faux bois cement table and seats were among the first to have a sold tag flung in its direction. The unusual set had cement logs standing on end for seats, complete with faux check cracks with faux peeling bark.
The table was massive with a circular faux slab top with growth rings measuring roughly five feet in diameter and also edged with peeling bark. Other items wearing red included a great pair of lion-head cast iron urns with a deep ruffled rim, an architectural form birdhouse made of wood and wire, a pair of wrought iron wall mounted flower pot holders, and several planters.
The show opened to bright clear skies and clean roadways on Friday and the New Yorkers that did not brave the weather the night before were out in force. The weekend crowd was also heavy with strong sales reported throughout the run of the show.
The Village Braider was selling well with dealer Bruce Emondcommenting that he has to bring a huge amount of merchandise to theshow. The dealer had already sold several major pieces less than anhour into preview including a huge Italian painting that took up agood portion of the rear wall of his booth. Several urns, jars andplanters were sporting red tags and a host of smalls were alsomoving from the booth.
With much of the sold merchandise gone from the booth on Friday morning, the dealer had to restock, giving Friday patrons a fresh selection of merchandise.
Chicago dealer The Finnegan Gallery also came prepared to sell and they set up a dramatic looking booth with a large pair of stone lions on pedestals guarding the front of its booth. A large spread winged crowing rooster in cast iron was making his presence known and a huge Grecian-style urn in the back of the booth was catching admiring glances from patrons.
Pine Plains, N.Y., dealer Balsamo Antiques presented a stunning display with large arched doors forming a pleasing backdrop for the selection for the large cast Grecian urns with relief decoration that flanked the rear corners, a fountain with cherubs supporting a top bowl and a pair of Chippendale-style outdoor benches inviting viewers into the booth. Numerous other finials and stone items were sprinkled though another section of the booth along with a monumental windmill lawn ornament.
A couple of the coolest items on the floor were spotted inthe booth of Eleanor and David Billet, including three life-sizecacti that had been made from cast stone and painted. The lifelikesucculents were displayed on a lichen-covered carved granite benchand were displayed among a host of urns, planters and animal-formcast statuary.
The item in the booth that was attracting the most attention was a streamline stainless steel hotdog cooker complete with red enameled pots for chili and kraut, and a large bun warmer on the opposite side. Virtually every person walking down the aisle, especially the grill-minded men in the crowd, had to stop and take a look. It was not long after preview opened that the piece was wearing a little extra red in the way of a sold tag.
Portland, Maine, dealer Nancy Wells presented an attractive stand with all of the walls lined with large green painted vintage screen doors that had reportedly come from a Maine hunting camp. A nice weathered wooden bench and an early leaded glass tabletop terrarium completed the rustic atmosphere.
The stand of Marianne Stikas and Kevin Velle offered up an attractive menagerie of items including cast iron urns, wrought iron ornaments, statuary and a quirky late Victorian vanity that had been decorated with thousands of applied sea shells.
20th Century Modern, Huntington, N.Y., impressed the crowd with a selection of wrought iron benches that were placed around a massive wrought iron gazebo that had come from a prominent Long Island estate.
Manchester Antiques came to the show with a great selectionof merchandise including a charming outdoor patio table and chairsin wood painted in a perfectly weather blue. A large copper spreadwinged eagle stood tall in a corner, flanked by a monumental castiron urn with heavy acanthus relief decoration.
TJ Antorino had a lively booth with a mixture of indoor and outdoor antiques including a large house-form terrarium cart on wheels and set of metal spring seat chairs and a matching bench. The dealer also displayed a nice red painted cupboard with upper glazed doors that was attracting attention from several of his clients.
The next event for Stella Show Mgmt Co. will be the Triple Pier Antiques Show, taking place this weekend, March 18 and 19. For further information call 212-255-0002 or view www.stellashows.com.