Published: November 17, 2015
Dee Dee Sides is the chief operating officer of NYC Big Flea and the daughter of Joan Sides, founder of D’Amore Promotions, producer of the DC Big Flea and the Fredericksburg Big Flea shows. A New Yorker who grew up in Virginia, Sides is launching the January 23–24 edition of NYC Big Flea at Manhattan’s Pier 90 to coincide with Americana Week in 2016. Antiques and The Arts Weekly recently spoke to Sides about her plans for the 300-dealer event featuring a sweeping range of art and design from four centuries.
Welcome to Americana Week. What are your plans for January?
Thank you. Pier 90 is a wonderful site for our entry into New York’s Americana Week in January. Dealers are thrilled to be participating. After four decades of producing shows and getting our feet wet at the Piers these past couple of years, this is looking to be our best experience yet in the city.
What is driving your decision to bring the Big Flea format to Americana Week?
We began our Big Fleas at the Piers more than a year ago with terrific success at Pier 94 in September 2014. We had 600 dealers and many thousands of shoppers on a weekend with lots of conflicting activities. The dealers were happy with their sales, and anxious for more, so we repeated the market again this past September. We’ve been looking carefully for more opportunities in Manhattan for our dealers.
How did you choose the time and place?
Americana Week in New York is one of the best times for a show. The problem is finding a location. It turned out that Pier 90 was available and it is really perfect for my dealers. It is very well decorated and carpeted, with lots of light and windows, and easy access for the customers. It’s just a wonderful setting for the show. The dealers are so pleased with the venue and with the size limit I’ve placed on the number of exhibitors.
Don’t your shows traditionally have a pretty wide range of offerings?
Historically, Americana has been defined as Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century material, but we and our dealers are defining Americana over 400 years, up to the current century. What is more American than an Andy Warhol or a Jackson Pollock? We’re including exhibitors with industrial and Modernist design. The dealers are vetted for their offerings.
So you are going with a broader interpretation of Americana?
Definitely, and it will not be limited simply to furniture. York, Maine, dealer Bob Withington will be there with a collection that includes early spring selections of outdoor furniture and Twentieth Century design. Linda Gumb is coming from London with fine, small antiques. Her specialty is frames containing pressed flowers and other vegetation from the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. New York dealers Judy and Jim Milne have been joined in business by their daughter. The Milnes have some things Judy’s father may have purchased new, which the Milnes are now selling as part of their inventory, along with other antiques going back as far as the Georges. The show will offer vintage fashions and textiles, some ready to wear, others to use as models for the manufacture of new patterns and garments.
As the largest show in town that week, will you be doing any special marketing?
We care about the dealers and their livelihood. That is the basis for our business and this industry, so the biggest part of our budget is publicity and advertising for the show. We will be advertising in the general print media and in the trade press, as well as on radio and television, in taxis and more. We are working on a plan for a shuttle to the Winter Antiques Show on the weekend and will have more details about that shortly.
What else should we know?
The NYC Big Flea is planned for Saturday, January 23, from 9 am to 7 pm, and Sunday, January 24, from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $15 with rooftop parking available for out-of-town visitors. Taxis and Uber pick-up will be available in front of the pier. You can learn more at www.thebigfleamarket.com or call 757-961-3988.
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