This Sunday, Oct. 22, the Syracuse Antiques Exchange, 1629 N. Salina St., will be not be another typical day of business for the four-floored mall of unique relics. The family friendly 5th Dimension Party will satisfy those with particular tastes for vintage and desires for the peculiar.
The free event, which will begin at noon and run to 4 p.m., is made extravagantly possible by partnerships with Jamie Ann Owens, notably known as the SocietyGurl, and The Salt City Belles & Beaus. Free food and beverages (adult and soft) will also be available, provided by Modern Malt (325 S. Clinton St.) and Sweet Praxis (203 E. Water St.).
When it comes to aesthetics, Syracuse Antique Exchange’s decorating process isn’t too difficult. There are a lot of cool, unique artifacts already found within the walls. The building is an antique mall, said general manager Matthew Pastore, because the building features 45-plus antique dealers instead of just one. He came into the antique business a year ago, starting part-time and evolving into a floor manager position.
“The previous managers were in charge of the front end … and I handled renovations, dealers,” said Pastore. “This spring I took over the general manager position.”
Commonly known as the SAE, the business was started in 1991, by David Jenks, a lighting and fixture dealer, and others. “It was created as the antiques exchange, where we are now,” said Pastore. “It’s always been what’s called an antique mall. The business itself is renting space to dealers. The store makes its money on rent and commission. You get about 50 different takes, styles, points of views on antiques and vintage.”
He added that it’s impossible to know everything, especially specific knowledge about a the broad spectrum of the antique world, and having such a number of dealers under one building helps with educating visitors, buyers and inquiring minds.
This past Wednesday we sat down at a table in the back of the first floor. We passed old, giant gypsy-esque posters boasting palm reading and other offerings seen at fairs or circuses. Masks sat above our heads; although eyeless, they seemed to be keeping track of our conversation. If the various items don’t spark a sense of nostalgia, they’ll puppeteer your imagination’s strings.
Speaking of which, imagination is important. The SAE makes a nod to Syracuse native, writer and The Twilight Zone host Rod Serling. “There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man,” says Serling in the opening sequence for the timeless late-1950s anthology show that incorporates science fiction, horror, suspense as well as other genres.
To make the event extra special, families are able to interact with the antique’s stores special guests. Pastore said he’s been working with Nicole Ginsburg, co-producer of the team behind Escape the Estate and annual scarefest attraction Frightmare Farms in Palermo. The group’s third interactive effort can be found in Destiny USA — The Museum of Intrigue.
(Read more about this attraction through Syracuse Woman Magazine.)
Several actors will take on roles and can be found throughout the four floors and their showcases. Families are able to meet with each, talk to them, gather clues and solve the mystery at hand.
“If people want, they can get broken up into teams, but they have to interact with the characters. It’s going to be a mafia-speakeasy storyline,” said Pastore. “It’s not going to be a general monster Halloween theme, but more spooky. We’re going to have a gypsy, a bell hop for the elevator … for customers to interact with as they explore and shop.”
He reassured the characters’ intentions will not be terrifying, so young children may not worry. There will also be a scavenger hunt to compliment story centering around the SAE’s special visitors, which will also give a stylistic nod to The Twilight Zone and historical events. Gratitude was also expressed to Travis and Jamie Owens, who produced the promotional videos.
Being a Halloween season event, it was difficult to resist asking if Syracuse Antiques Exchange was haunted.
“Ya know, I’ve spent so much time here. I think I don’t notice a lot of the noises. It doesn’t seem that way to me, but I’ve gotten mixed reviews from people,” said Pastore. “It’s an old building. It’s somewhat surprisingly quiet and not spooky at night. But you will hear creaks and other noises, there are radios on each floor that you can kind of hear.”
Pastore said 2016 was the first year for SAE’s events in a long time. In July they held a Christmas in July sale and an October 25 percent sale to celebrate their silver anniversary. This year they held pre-Valentine’s Day and Independence Day shindigs. For the latter, they held cookout on the building’s side yard.
“This event is a thank you to our customers and an invitation to new people who haven’t been here,” he said. “I’m looking forward to our future events and working with many more local, small businesses to help make them great.”
“It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” – Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone