Published: October 16, 2007
Recall, too, that the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum had its own problems temporarily unberthing from its home at Pier 86 on Manhattan’s West Side. No less resolute is the Stella Show Mgmt Co. team, which is reeling from a double whammy of venue challenges stemming from the perennial problem of doing business in the Big Apple.
Two rosters of Stella January shows dealers †the Armory exhibitors and those participating in Americana at the Piers †recently received letters from the firm informing them that the 69th Regiment Armory may be unavailable in January and that Piers 88 and 90 have been taken out of play as well.
For veteran show promoter Irene Stella, the developments are causing no small amount of agita, but in a phone interview she said that she and her team are doing everything possible to lessen the impact that National Guard training requirements and construction delays at the Piers will have on her business and on her cadre of exhibitors.
The armory scheduling problem is related to US military troop deployments to Afghanistan and their need to use the building as a staging and training site. “We’re working on getting a backup space should we not be able to secure space at the Armory for the January 18′0 dates,” said Stella.
The alternative site, which she described only as “interesting” because negotiations are ongoing, could possibly be rented for the event and released if the armory becomes available, but perhaps also held as an alternative site for the January Pier show, Stella explained. However, the space only holds up to 70 exhibitors, which is challenge enough for her 100-dealer armory show, never mind the 200 dealers who are featured at the popular January pier event.
Stella said final word from the National Guard unit’s commander will probably come in November, at which time she said she will let her dealers know.
“Everybody has this misconception that the Piers are run by the Port Authority,” said Stella. “They are not. The City of New York owns the Piers.” The city, Stella, continued, recently informed her that construction problems and overruns on Piers 88 and 90 have caused the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to completely black out all event dates there for 2008. “We are lobbying the EDC to reconsider, but at this time we have to say there will not be a January Pier show,” said Stella.
Pier 94, which Stella has used to stage truncated versions of its November and March 500-dealer megamarkets, cannot be considered an alternative, because, although there is no ship scheduled to be docked there during the January Americana show’s dates, the Piers’ operators want to have the flexibility of doing so.
Flexibility is something Stella knows all too well. “We have been working hard to overcome all these challenges which our beloved New York City constantly sends our way,” she said. “We have successfully worked around ships and construction schedules at the Piers since 1984 and would like to continue to do so for another 20-plus years.” She is asking dealers to write or call the EDC and implore it to reconsider, saying, “The income and economy of many people are affected by this decision.”
When asked how the cancellation of the January Pier show would affect the firm’s bottom line, Stella replied, “It wouldn’t have as tremendous an impact as if we were forced to cancel a November or March show,” worriedly acknowledging that the March show is one of those 2008 events currently “negated” by the EDC’s decision.
For information, 212-255-0020 or www.stellashows.com. The EDC contact information is: Robert Lieber, President, New York City Economic Development Corporation, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038; www.nycedc.com or 212-619-500.
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