If you like exquisite antiques, gallery-hopping, and sipping as you shop, the place to be on October 3rd is —Washington Square, Union Square, and Cooper Square, that is. Some 20 dealers and boutiques in this downtown triangle are hosting an extended block party from 6 to 9pm, unveiling special exhibitions, presenting artists and their new works, and, yes, serving complimentary glasses of wine.
Though it's tempting to call it Fashion's Night Out for the art and antiques set, the inspiration actually comes from both farther afield—Paris' annual Carré Rive Gauche—and closer to home. Back in 2001, a group of dealers on East 10th Street launched "Ten on 10," a similar evening of strolling and shopping, to bring out customers in the wake of 9/11. "It was a lot of fun," says Benoist Drut of , one of the original participants and an organizer of Between the Squares. "Everyone loved going from gallery to gallery. But after three or four years, interest waned and it ended. So now a few of us said, why don't we relaunch Ten on 10 but make it bigger?"
This time around the event includes not just East 10th Street, but East 11th and 12th Streets as well, a string of shops on Lafayette and one on Bond (not to mention a pair of restaurants for when you're feeling peckish). All of them will be preparing something special for the evening. "Not every dealer will have an exhibit," says Drut, "but everyone will make an effort with their display or to show something new, so there will be a sense of surprise for the guests."
"It's a way to introduce ourselves again to the New York public," says Bernd Goeckler of , another of the organizers and original participants. "We're hoping the streets will be full and festive."
Glen Dooley, who opened three years ago on East 11th Street, is an enthusiastic newcomer. "I love the idea," he says. "I've been to Carré Rive Gauche in Paris, and it's like a late-night party. Antiques can be so serious. I'm hoping this will make it more fun." Dooley will be unveiling a 1918 Swedish sculpture, Sun Glitter, by Carl Milles, for the occasion.
At Goeckler, the main attraction will be the chance to meet the young Venetian artist and glass blower , whose chandeliers and other objets will be on display beginning that night. At Maison Gerard, one location will feature an exhibition of coquillage (shell) art by Paris-based , while the other will present a new collection of furniture pieces by the interior designer . And the mood will be particularly celebratory at , the only clothing shop on the list, which will be marking the company's 20th anniversary with a visit from the shop's eponymous London-based designer.
Other participants range from the silk textile house to the English furniture dealer , from the 20th-century specialist AFD Warehouse to the silver and jewelry purveyor .
There's something for everyone at Between the Squares, including, apparently, those looking for the opposite of antique. "In addition to some Baroque surprises," says Jill Dienst of , "we'll have puppies for adoption from our neighbor , and part of our proceeds from the evening will go to them." Who can resist a temptation like that?
Between the Squares, October 3, 2012, 6-9pm
-->'s feature on the event