Published: February 3, 2004
Story by David S. Smith, photos by R. Scudder Smith and David S. Smith
Triple Pier – Americana Week style, while this years show was certainly subjected to its fair share of ups and downs, it looked, as one dealer stated, “utterly fantastic” and performed more than admirably during it’s two-day run. “The gate was up and sales were great,” stated an exuberant Irene Stella in the days following the show that opened to the public on January 17.
Unlike other Triple Pier events, the Americana Week version features a single-shot opening with each of the Piers swinging their doors open at 10 am, this in contrast to the staggered starts seen during the March and November shows. While crowds were less than anticipated at the opening of Piers 88 and 90, a huge crowd overflowed from the lobby and out into the street awaiting the opening of 92 – the Americana Pier.
Management reported that the gate was up overall for the show by almost 1,000 shoppers. Stella stated that the crowd was “up almost a couple thousand” for Saturday, but said that attendance on Sunday was off “considerably” citing figures of nearly 1,000 few patrons for the day than last year.
Weather had a major impact on the show with frigid zero degree temperatures experienced for set-up on Friday which had dealers clamoring in the aisles and bustling to stay warm. Near balmy conditions were seen on Saturday as sunny skies allowed temperatures to reach into the low 30s, the perceived heat-wave brought the suburbanite and metro crowds out in full force. A forecasted “dusting” of snow on Sunday landed four to six inches on most of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, which according to Stella was “the factor” for Sunday’s reduced gate. “We had people calling to tell us that they could not make it to the show, and those that did make it repeatedly said that it was a horrendous ride in,” commented Stella.
Following true to form for all the Americana Week shows, Triple Pier, the last to open, saw a brisk spat of business at opening that reportedly remained constant throughout the day. Despite smaller crowds on Sunday, many of the dealers also reported sales from the die-hard clients that braved what were often times termed “treacherous” road conditions.
As the crowds began making their way onto the Piers, many of the dealers were armed with stacks of sold tags and red stickers, which were put to good use. Sue and Otto Hart of Arlington, Vt., “sold like crazy” on Saturday, according to Sue Hart. “We had a great show and sold everything all across the boards. Signs to doorstops and furniture to sculpture, there was eclectic buying and luckily we had a good assortment of eclectic stuff.” The dealers reported selling six doorstops, a Windsor chair, some willow tree carvings, and a limestone sculpture of a couple embracing early on in the show.
Stella concurred with the Harts and said that there was a good chance the hours for next years Americana Week Pier Shows will be extended on Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm. “We had a hard time getting people to leave the Pier as the show closed on Saturday evening, the customers wanted to be on the floor and were still buying,” she said.
Robesonia, Penn., dealer Greg Krammer was another of the dealers that reported a stellar show. “We sold a lot of smaller rdf_Descriptions and framed things off the walls. It was a good start for the new year,” commented Krammer. The dealer also noted that “weathervanes seemed extremely hot” with a couple moving from his display including a large sheet iron painted Indian weathervane with a bow in hand. Krammer commented that he did not sell a lot of large rdf_Descriptions, although the largest rdf_Descriptions to be displayed in the show, the huge Marcus Illions sea serpent carvings from Coney Island that measured roughly five feet tall and close to eight feet in length, had yet to be unpacked from the dealers truck nearly a week after the show as there was “serious interest” in them.
In contrast to many others, Marlborough, N.H., dealer Thomas Longacre commented that Saturday started out “slow and then became very busy. It took a while for the ball to get rolling,” said the dealer, “but a couple hours into the show it became a serious buying show.” Longacre, like others, noted eclectic sales with a “mixture of furniture, art and folk art” moving from his booth. Among an abbreviated list provided, several paintings were sold, a serpentine-top pier table, tin sconces, a carved bird tree, a paint decorated dressing stand, two decoys, bird carvings, andirons and a New England corner chair.
One of the fronts-booths of the show featured an eclectic mix presented by Praiseworthy Antiques of Gilford, N.Y. with rdf_Descriptions ranging from folk art to Moderne. Dealer John Lynch stated that he was “very, very pleased” and commented that the show was “one of the best they have had in a long time.” Lynch stated that virtually all of his business was done on Saturday with major sales including three large contemporary “glamour dolls” made by Georgia Russell, Nashville, Tenn., that sold to folk art collectors. The dolls are reportedly all “made from scratch” by the artist and were circa 1990. Also sold from his display was an old homemade railroad crossing sign that declared a “Dangerous Crossing” and further emphasized the point with a skull and crossbones. A collection of carved birds also left the booth, a cigarette trade sign in old paint and a walnut vitrine.
A good mix of materials was seen on the other Piers as well and buying was also reported as being active by the majority of the exhibitors. Steven Thomas, Woodstock Vt., offered a nice selection of prints ranging from a Thomas Hart Benton print of “Goin Home” to a wall filled with his specialty, Arts and Crafts color woodblock prints. The dealer offered up a fine selection of pieces by Margaret Patterson, Frank Fletcher, Sadie Irvine and Bror Nordfeldt. Also displayed was a Blanche Lazzelle gouache from 1924 in an abstract style.
Ambler, Penn., dealer Sally Good offered a wonderful selection of porcelains that included numerous choice examples of mocha, canary mugs and plates, and a stunning collection of rare Gaudy Dutch in the single rose pattern that was highlighted by a large sumptuously formed coffeepot.
Other porcelains seen about the floor included a selection in the stand of Sarah Coito, Portsmouth, Mass., ranging from Seventeenth to Nineteenth Century wares including Delft chargers and Orientalia, to rewards of merit, Staffordshire and mocha.
Paul Birchmeyer offered up a booth filled with eclectic wares including several nice Shier vases and a case full of studio pottery by Rose Cabat. The dealer noted that both artists are still alive and each is nearing their 90s. Cabat is still working, according to the dealer, Shier is not.
Lin and Weinberg, New York City, had two booths at the Pier, one being tended to by Chery with an extensive collection of vintage handbags, while Andy watched over the traditional modern rdf_Descriptions that have become their trademark.
This outing certainly qualifies as one of the strongest of the Pier events from the aspect of Americana, although the same cannot be claimed for the other Piers. Both Modern and Classic Piers shine in November and March, perhaps this is what gives the Stella events at the Piers a good dose of their unique flavor – different strengths at different times of the year.
The next showing for Stella’s Triple Pier will be March 20-21. This show will break new ground for the promoters as it will feature a show within a show with the inclusion of Restoration ’04, a special show featuring home restoration, vintage bath and kitchen rdf_Descriptions, hardware, architectural rdf_Descriptions and much more. Restoration ’04 will be featured in Pier 94, which will also be utilized as an exhibition area for the regular show as one of the other Piers will have a passenger ship in dock.
For further information contact Stella Management; 212-255-0020.
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