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Old stuff meets new G’point convention center

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The Greenpoint convention center hot-button real estate tycoon Joshua Guttman started building this spring is opening its doors next month for its first event, the Brooklyn Antiques and Book Fair. Guttman’s waterfront Greenpoint Terminal Market mysteriously burned to the ground eight years ago and his latest project in the neighborhood caught suspicious area residents by surprise. But antique dealers are excited to be able to vend their wares in such a hip, headache-free locale, an organizer for the show said.

“There are so many people excited to do a New York show without the New York hassle,” Marvin Getman said. “Everyone is excited to present in Brooklyn, because Brooklyn is where it is at.”

The fair is set to run Sept. 13–14 and feature more than 100 antique and rare-book hawkers, according to an announcement.

Neighbors distrust Guttman, whose massive Greenpoint Terminal Market was home to a hodgepodge of artists, industrial operations, and derelict structures frequented by vandals and homeless people at the time of the 2006 fire that destroyed much of it. Police later arrested and convicted a homeless man for starting the blaze, but firefighters said at the time that the flames ignited in at least five separate spots, according to neighbors. Other Guttman properties went up in smoke in the years before that.

Brooklyn Expo Center manager Uli Zuker said Guttman and his son Jack are trying to win over wary locals with a sliding scale for neighborhood functions.

“Any community event or anyone who wants to conduct something for the community, most of the time we will give it for free or low cost,” said Zuker.

Guttman refinished the 79 Franklin St. warehouse at Noble Street with a glass exterior and marketed it as a miniature version of Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center, with moveable walls for conferences and banquets, as well as office space.

So far, the expo center is giving space to community group Town Square for a children’s festival, Zuker said.

The expo will also host a hot sauce festival, a cooking industry trade show, and a wedding convention called “My Big Fat Jewish Wedding,” he said.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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