It’s safe to say that Aqueduct vendors have a new home. The 25,000 square foot space at 221-02 Merrick Boulevard, which used to be an old warehouse, has been converted into a new flea market – the Merrick Flea Market.
Some aqueduct vendors have already made their way over to the Springfield Gardens space that was opened last fall but Brian Baxter, the current manager of the Merrick Flea Market who also managed the Aqueduct Flea Market for 33 years expects to see more.
“Aqueduct had between 600 – 800 vendors at any given time. With about 125 – 150 total spaces here, we’re about 75 percent full and we can attribute about half of them to the old Aqueduct vendors,” he said.
Many vendors at Aqueduct are either out of a job or hoping for another space and the Merrick Flea is located conveniently in Queens where they wouldn’t have to travel far and where customers, who receive free parking at the market, could also follow.
Although promises were made by Senator Addabbo and the Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall, to find a new space for the vendors, Baxter said that to find a place similar to Aqueduct would be almost impossible.
“It’s so big, any property that large is not going to be zoned for a flea market,” he said.
The Merrick Flea Market is only five miles away from Aqueduct, a perk which Baxter says can only benefit Aqueduct vendors once they find out – through word of mouth – that the Merrick Flea Market is open.
The Plain and Fancy company that used to run the Aqueduct Flea Market has a confidential client list so Baxter has to promote the Merrick Flea Market to vendors using the contacts he has formed and is close with.
“I have to depend on my own contacts as well as word of mouth to spread the word to vendors out of work. But many of the vendors know one another, like a big happy family,” he said. It’s a workable strategy to get more vendors there in the coming months.
The Merrick Flea Market is an indoor market that will be open year-round on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.