I met Larry Baumhor at the Antique Garage many years ago when I was shopping for found photos. What I liked about Larry was that he was fair with pricing, he always had bins of new stuff, and the more expensive photos was catalogued in binders according to theme—e.g. dolls, war, afro-american, etc. He always had the brightest hello and endless enthusiasm, but as the Garage became closer to extinction I could tell his grief had already begun.
But Larry had done a smart thing: he began chronicling, via camera, the long parade of fashionistas, punks, collectors and weirdos who made their way to 25th street on any given weekend. Maybe they were looking for things for their own collections, or maybe to decorate the windows at Barneys, or their own apartments. Maybe it was just to meet and greet. It was a netherworld of curated dumpster diving. These wonderful eccentrics used to be ubiquitous in New York. Another reason to grieve our city that once was…
“I’m in college at the School of Visual Arts majoring in photography. I want to be a fine-art photographer. I enjoy coming to the Garage, and I look for vintage clothing and accessories. I always dressed in vintage clothing as a kid. I particularly like the 1940s.”
“I’m a freelance fashion designer living in New York. I was inspired by 60’s and 70’s punk rock groups from London. I went to clubs like the 100 Club in Oxford and heard groups like the Sex Pistols and The Clash. I started dressing like this in the 70’s. I was influenced by fashion designer Vivenne Westwood.“
“I’m a freelance jewelry designer. I make jewelry accessories. I come to the Garage looking for jewelry supplies. I sell jewelry through my website and some boutiques, www.purevile.com. The Garage is the best free museum in the city. The vendors are knowledgeable, interesting people. It’s a social outlet. Dressing like this comes natural, it’s who I am. I’ve always dressed fashionably since I was young. I was inspired by Boy George and Cyndi Lauper.”
“If you can stand on your own in New York it’s the best place to be, but there has been a lot of changes after 911. Individuals are being pushed out of NY. You can’t live, eat, or get on a train. If I moved to NY after 911, I wouldn’t have experienced the things I did when I moved here in 1998. The city is erasing bars, watering holes, and places for artists to go and get resources, to find shelter, food, and what’s happening with the art that they do. NY used to be the best place in the world for the community of artists. I’m an actor. I’m currently working on a play about freaks wanting to be accepted, your voice to be heard. I’m deeply inspired by Zora Hurston. Years ago I played Emperor Jones, in a Eugene O’Neill play.”
Adam Blazeman and Mark Little
“We have a museum in East London called Blazeman & Little. We specialize in papier-mache. We also have a collection of old wooden macabre dolls and some anatomy items. Some of our items are for sale.”
“Dealers at the Garage hold clothes for me. I don’t like seeing a hundred things on a rack. The way I dress comes natural. I wear what I like. I feel good about myself. People always smile at me and ask to take my picture. My nickname as a kid was Smilemaker. As a kid I beat to my own drummer and liked fashions!”
Larry Baumhor: The Garage has a legacy for collectors and dealers that will never be duplicated. When you walked up and down the ramps at the Garage, you entered a grimy, dilapidated, 87-year-old concrete building that seeped into your pores with its lack of ventilation, and no heat, or air conditioning. You felt a voltage of electricity, with endless possibilities, anticipation, and excitement. Chips and chunks of concrete fell from the ceilings and walls, rats scampered across the floor, and yet this was our home, and this was our family. It’s where eccentricities were nurtured, cherished, and admired. At the heart of the matter it was the friendships developed and the camaraderie enjoyed of both dealers and collectors week after week. For me, the Garage developed into a commune, and a family of artistic inspiration, collaboration and friendships that I will cherish way beyond the closing of the Garage. Long live the Garage!
Larry Baumhor is currently searching for a publisher for his book about the Garage Antique Flea Market. If you are interested, or have any suggestions for him, you can contact him via his FB page Larry Baumhors Photography
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