RADC: A Warehouse Of Treasures At Hudson’s River Side
By Jamie Larson
Hudson’s position as a world-class destination for great art and antiques is well deserved. But as its stature has risen briskly over the past 20 years, an ever-increasing percentage of the city’s old eccentric vibe (which drew artists and dealers to the city in the first place) has been priced out.
Fortunately, it’s coming back in a big way. The Riverfront Antiques and Design Center, located in a massive former factory, houses two dozen shops that have managed to spiritually capture the manic, classy, grungy, glamorous, artistic fury of the early days of Hudson’s turn-of-the-century artistic revitalization, all under one roof. It is a wild place to shop.
When you’re done with the Warren Street crawl, turn left down along the river, bump over the railroad tracks, pass the Basilica and enter the bog-adjacent parking lot of a large nondescript warehouse. There you’ll find this mass of hidden treasure that is RADC (pronounced Rad-Cee). Enter through door 21 of the former L&B Furniture factory and it’s kind of like entering one of those bizarre places where some of your weirder dreams take place.
“It’s a new market for makers,” says Glen Adams, owner of Tongue In Chique and a RADC member. “It’s created a really positive energy. Once you get inside it’s a whole new world.”
Tongue In Chique
The largest operations in the warehouse, right up front, are Cottage Treasures Antique Warehouse, a well-established brand with New Jersey origins, and The Other Company. Neither is a member of RADC, but they did get the ball rolling. Cottage Treasures’ Paul Dorman was using the front of the warehouse for storage before making an agreement with the building’s management to open up an outlet for his huge collection of interesting stuff last year. After that, the floor space behind Cottage Treasures began being rented out by lots — at very reasonable rates — and vendors began flocking in.
In no time at all an eclectic neighborhood of tightly packed booths had sprung up. While each vendor rents a spot individually, they joined up as RADC to support each other through advertising and events (see their float in the upcoming Out Hudson Parade). There’s antiques and art, of course, but there’s also vintage clothing, in-house upholsterers, craftspeople, an event planner and a brewery (with a tasting room nearby, across from the train station.)
“People here are truly artists,” says Leith Pardee in front of her shop, Shelina’s. “People are bringing something different. There’s a feeling of a Parisian flea market.”
At home in RADC are extensions of Warren Street staples like the Lili and Loo Annex and Red Chair Antiques Annex, proving that RADC is a complement to uptown shops. There are quirky and well-curated standalones like Shelina’s, Mad Era, and the fabulous Tongue In Chique. As you walk around, the invariably interesting people who run the shops emerge from behind a statue or a stack of trunks to have a sweet little conversation with you. This really helps enhance the wonderland feel of the 200,000-square-foot warehouse, illuminated like Christmas by a thousand old lamps and chandeliers.
Manuel Madera in his shop, Mad Era.
“People are finding out about us and they just keep coming,” says Manuel Madera of Mad Era Antiques & Reproduction. “There’s so much here, you can find something amazing, from a low price range to whatever you could want.”
There is perhaps no more potent a pill to stimulate creative growth than cheep rent. It’s why people moved to Hudson 20 years ago to start something new. There’s an unmistakable sense of community at RADC that lightens the mood of the cavernous space.
Larry Forman is the president of the Hudson Antique Dealers Association (HADA). He and Mark Wasserbach shared a location for their businesses, Mark’s Antiques and Larry’s Back Room, for 20 years before their rent was doubled. Now they’ve got a sizable chunk of the warehouse. Having the HADA president in RADC shows the venue’s connectivity to the city.
“There’s a lot going on down here,” Forman says, not just of the warehouse but Hudson’s of growing riverfront district. “We’re a part of Hudson’s new downtown.”
Sarah Berney of Sarah Berney Art.
Chris Ungaro from Beacon, New York, manages a medical office and makes furniture and woodwork as a hobby, but he never considered having a store to sell his pieces until he visited RADC and saw how affordable it could be. Now he’s put up walls and created Dichotomy Home to showcase his talent.
“It’s like a bazaar,” Ungaro says of RADC. “It’s the variety of people that make it special.”
RADC has a distinctly different feel, in quality and atmosphere, from a standard antiques mall. For now we can pretend it’s our secret — until everyone finds out about it.