Edited by Jessica Lapidos on
Those who now attend the gothic church on the corner of 6th Avenue and 20th Street probably pray to the gods of fashion. For the past year it has been the home of The Limelight Marketplace, a maze of over 60 local shops selling everything from artisan crafted jewelry to artisan craft cheese. And jeans, flip flops and fast trends as well. And art. And haircuts. And various tchotchkes. Perhaps they were praying for something a little less scatterbrained. To that end, Limelight owner Jack Manashe has terminated most of his selling tenants as he redefines the place as a department store.
Manashe has put $4 million into the transformation that is already well underway. He’s hired the former buyer of Boogies in Aspen to restock his store, and has gutted the main lobby.
Here is what it looked like just a few short months ago. It was essentially a valley of kiosks. BEFORE:
Here, let me take you on a brief tour of its three levels. There are nooks and crannies at every turn to get lost in, places I haven’t discovered yet. And as of this moment, rooms that are vacant from all of the retailers that were forced to evacuate.
Okay, catch your breath.
Out of the whole place, one that will certainly stay is Old Hollywood. With another location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, this shop is one of the main draws for The Limelight Marketplace, and thus is one of the lucky few shops to remain through the turnover. Storeowner Tiffany Porter began her store by selling mostly vintage pieces, but now she features a whole host of new designers. Her most popular jewelry designer is Kaoru, a meticulous Japanese designer. Among dozens of the other designers she carries, Pendleton has been flying off her shelves. The old world quality of her display and the pieces within bring a sense of timeless rusticity to the space. She is very relieved that there is longer a giant winged statue from the former candy store below, blocking her 2nd story shop from eyeshot. (see below)
A history lesson on the Church of Fashion:
It opened as a Catholic Church in 1853 to much architectural acclaim, but then was decommissioned when the neighborhood died by the start of the 1970s. It then became a much-needed mid-seventies drug rehab center. Turns out, those people didn’t need or want the rehab, because it was bought by club owner Peter Gatien and christened The Limelight in 1983. Then 1996, a party promoter allegedly brutally murdered a drug dealer, which spawned the 2003 Macaulay Culkin/Seth Green movie The Party Monster. After opening and closing at the police mandate, the club officially closed and reopened in 2003 under the name Avalon. That party ended in 2007 and the space became home to random sample sales, and probably homeless people. Then in May of 2010, it was converted into The Limelight Marketplace. And it changes shapes again.
Best of luck to Jack Manashe. He’s got a 20 year lease on the place, and quite a house to clean.