Published: June 10, 2003
By Tom O’Hara
RHINEBECK, N.Y. – New York State between the Hudson River and the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont has historically been isolated by the river on the west and the Taconic Mountains on the east, as well as Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century politics creating a separate environment from its neighbors. The geography made travel difficult and politics made the people not want to mix. As such, the economic flow from that 50-mile-wide by 200- mile-long strip was usually south to New York City.
This history continues today making it an area for New York City people to travel north for weekend homes, vacations or just outings. And that makes it a natural for antiques shows.
Rhinebeck in Dutchess County is about 100 miles north of the city and has been host to many very popular antiques shows at the county fairgrounds. The Rhinebeck Antiques Fair has been at full capacity for many years with no facility for any more dealers to enter.
John and Tina Bruno, owners of Flamingo Promotions, have been producing shows in New York and New England for some time and last year had a show in neighboring Hyde Park in early May. Not long after that show they decided to use the facility again, but on the same dates as the original Rhinebeck show, May 23-25.
Finding enough dealers was easy. So many had been told the other show was full, dealers were anxious to offer their antiques in that market. The facility, St James Church Hall and outdoors on the Great Lawn, was cooperative and easy to find; ten miles south of Rhinebeck and across from Vanderbilt’s mansion on Route 9. And the promoters made no excuses for it, calling it “.” Not necessarily original, but it worked.
Tina devoted time to finding dealers with quality antiques for this event. It was not to be a flea market or low-end antiques. Granted it was not as pretty as an indoor event, but the antiques for a first-time show were good.
Bill and Kay Pachstein were in practically the first booth at the entry. Both lovers of early American painted furniture, their 20- by 20-foot tent was full at the Friday opening. During the winter months they produce shows in Florida, perhaps to buy antiques as much as anything else, but they are natives of Ohio where they developed their taste in antiques. On display were numerous early wooden buckets and firkins in milk (aka buttermilk) paint.
Rebecca and Robert Nicholas came up from Atlanta with a tent full of primitive furniture and architectural pieces. Susan Bates, Townsend, Mass., offered mostly textiles, while Chimney Corner Antiques, Newburyport, Mass., showed small objects. Daphne Mruz (ask her how to pronounce it) came down from Saratoga Springs with an early iron chandelier, ten lights, which sold early and an early Jacobean carved blanket chest.
Only in the business for a year, Platypus Antiques came up from Dix Hills, Long Island. Owner David Nelz had a pair of birdcage Windsor side chairs in yellow paint, a Queen Anne tea table and many small accessories from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Steve and Lisa Fisch, on the other hand, had a big rental truck filled with furniture of several periods. They sold an Art Deco bedroom suite, a Shakerlike early corner cupboard and a French dresser, each of serious value.
Jessica Pack and Glen Lucia, Chapel Hill, N.C., dealt in small rdf_Descriptions, especially colorful dishes including majolica. So did Marvin and Leslie Wies of Baltimore. There were three small stands in Lynda Ziegler’s tent; a spider legged candle stand, a Hepplewhite stand with two drawers and a French Louis XVI sewing stand.
Inside the church hall Geoff Jackson from England, now living in Pennsylvania, had his transfer ware and English porcelain dishes. Susan Curran-Wright, Garner, N.C., offered textiles and pillows covered in vintage textiles. Bob Hartman, Burke, Va., had a good supply of early country furniture including an interesting tall cupboard, two six-light doors on top, two drawers and panel doors below.
Tina has already booked the event for next May and hopes to expand with more dealers of good antiques. She and John also produce many Long Island shows and two in New Hampshire during Antiques Week. New England Antiques Festival is at the Hopkington (N.H.) Fairgrounds, August 1-3, and Start of Manchester at the JFK Ice Rink, August 5-6. They can be reached at 631-261-4590; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: flamingoshows.com.
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