Recently, Jen and I traveled to NYC to attend the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) for a little Grommet hunting and other “official” business. We jumped right into the flurry of action walking all the booths and embarking on a fast tour of meet-and-greets. We must have walked for miles before we decided to head out to find a local restaurant for dinner. On our way to dinner, we stumbled into a lovely marketplace housed in an old stone church with beautiful stained glass windows called the Limelight Marketplace. Even from the outside, we could tell this place was special – perhaps it even housed Grommets just waiting to be discovered? We had to go in.
Once inside, we both were overcome with a sort-of familiarity. Wondering, hmmm had we been here before? We realized that years ago, there was a nightclub in this old church -- with a couple of tough bouncers managing a long line outside the door and cages for dancers hanging from the ceiling -- but could this be the same place?
Once inside, we made our way through the charming building to the third floor, where we visited with Andrea of Jon Wye belts. Jon Wye has a proprietary (and patent-pending) process for tattooing leather and these make cool graphic belts (these belts even ended up becoming a Grommet). As we were chatting, Andrea was actually fitting and finishing belts by hand as we watched. Based in the D.C. area, the company has leased space in the Limelight Marketplace as it considers its plans for growth and tries out the Manhattan scene.
After talking about her great designs, we began chatting about the Marketplace and Andrea confirmed our suspicion about the renovated building being that same former nightclub of years past. She even pointed out the cable that formerly held the dancing cages. We learned that the Limelight Marketplace opened just last spring after a $15 million renovation that kept the twists and quirks of the historic 1844 building while bringing to light the interior space. It has been recreated as an upscale retail center for up-and-coming vendors as well as some established brands that have stores in other Manhattan neighborhoods. The result is a balanced mix of goods and a terrific shopping experience.
It was a serendipitous stop on an amazing trip to the NYIGF. As for the nightclub memories, we'll let you guess which one of us may or may not have danced in those cages at the old Limelight nightclub!