I always wanted to go in. I was always nervous to go in, partially because it always looked closed, but this amazing old building that sold antiques had to be amazing. Now it appears I will probably never have that day. Partly because I’m not paying a dollar to shop, but mainly because as of July 21, Antiquarian’s Delight, located at 615 S. 6th Street in Queen Village, will be closing its doors after 28 years of business.
Earlier this month, the Passyunk Post announced the South Street antiques market would be closing. The announcement should have been a shame since the market had been such a staple of South Street, but lately it had become more of an eyesore and source of bad Yelp reviews.
Various sources had indicated a decline in vendors, but the bigger issue was the service. In the past few years the store had introduced a door fee—you would have to pay a dollar if you wanted to come in. Some customers found it worth it, but most, not so much.
One Yelp reviewer recounts going to the shop and meeting the “doorman” (many reviewers had some descriptive things to say about him) and upon stating she was “just looking,” he proclaimed, “We’re closed for just looking,” then shut the door.
Another reviewer stated, “They should realize you can find a lot of this kind of stuff on eBay, Craigslist or at a thrift store, and so the last thing they should be doing is scaring people off!”
So maybe it is a good time to be closing the doors. According to the Office of Property Assessment, this closing was a long time coming. The former synagogue that sits on about four lots (6,399.36 square feet of land) was sold in November for $1.1 million. This purchase price proves South Street is still a commodity; earlier this summer we reported a developer paid $2.2 million for a stretch of storefronts and apartments along S. 5th Street. The main difference between these purchases is the state of the buildings, which may mean we could be saying goodbye to the synagogue as well, since this city has a pattern of demolishing the unsightly to build the new. It is understandable, since new construction can tend to be more cost-effective when dealing with buildings that are in bad shape.
According to Plan Philly, the new owners are the Fetfatzes family, who own several local businesses including the Bainbridge Street Barrel House and Hawthorne’s. Their plan is to “convert the building to residential,” but Stacy Fahnestock, the co-owner of Anastacia’s Antiques nearby, told Plan Philly the building is not in the best of shape. She described the second floor as a “hazmat-suit-worthy job.” She cited the second floor had been open to weather conditions for several years. The open area contains old merchandise and had become a final resting place for many pigeons.
Now that the creepy antiques market is closed and no one really cares, this story is more about the building that contained the bazaar of mannequins (per Yelp) and broaches. Will the new owners preserve the building, which was once home to Chevra B’nai Reuben, Anshe Sfard, the city’s first Hasidic congregation? Or will the lot become home to the next round of residential rectangles? If the owners keep the building, this could be one of the most interesting renovations in the city. I’m crossing my fingers preservation prevails this time around.
Photos by the author