In a statement the Genting-owned company pinned its decision on safety concerns raised by the state's Division of Lottery. But Resort Worlds also made it clear an open-air flea market does not fit into its plans to remake the racetrack into a state-of-the-art entertainment facility.
“Since the Aqueduct facility will be a construction site for several months, the Division of the Lottery determined that the continued presence of the flea market would raise safety concerns in addition to being incompatible with the future use of the property,” Resort World's statement read.
The decision was a blow for vendors who rallied last month to save the flea market, which has operated out of an Aqueduct parking lot for over 25 years.
Open between April and December, the market - the largest of its kind in New York City - was a staple for bargain hunters and an economic anchor, employing over 1,000 people.
For many vendors, it was their only source of income.
Elected officials expressed disappointment with Genting, the state and the New York Racing Association (NYRA), but vowed to find another location.
“I am disappointed in Genting, NYRA and Lottery Division's decision to no longer house the flea market at Aqueduct,” Assemblyman Michael Miller said. “I am committed to working with my colleagues in government, the management of the flea market, and our community to find” a new location.
Finding a large, inexpensive parcel of land could be difficult, however.
Strangely, Plain and Fancy Flea Market, the Long Island-based company that managed the market, has chosen to remain silent as the fight for its space played out in public. Calls were placed to the company for comment, but went unreturned.
The flea market must close by December 31.