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Back in January, when he envisaged a new Manhattan antiques fair, he could not have supposed that his inaugural event would be elevated from the new kid on the block to the only show in town.

But following the September 11 tragedy that is what has happened. The New York International Antiquarian Fine Art Fair which will run at Madison Square Garden from November 30 to December 4 will have a degree of international attention few recent launches have enjoyed.

The New York quality fairs calendar is not as crowded as that of London, but there are plenty of fairs of note between September and Christmas and if they had all gone ahead the Eisenberg initiative would have been possibly just another new fair.

However, with the two Manhattan armories being used for public service and despite the efforts of other organisers who have scoured New York, no alternatives have been found.

So it is that all eyes are on Madison Square Garden, a venue normally more traditonally associated with boxing matches and latterly with rock concerts than art and antiques. It was in March when Dr Eisenberg, who owns the highly successful Royal-Athena Galleries on East 57th Street and is a regular exhibitor at both Cultura in Basel and at Maastricht, signed up for Madison Square Garden.

Initially those who are used to the favoured up-market Upper East Side venue of the Seventh Regiment Armory doubted the suitability of Madison Square Garden for a quality fair. But the situation has changed dramatically and instead of vying for a slice of the autumn action the Antiquarian Fine Art Fair is now the only opportunity for New Yorkers to shop at a quality fair and the sole outlet for the international trade who wish to sell in Manhattan.

Some 52 international dealers have signed up, 22 of them from England.
Among the British contingent are Elwes and Hanham, Simon Finch Rare Books, John Mitchell & Son, Tessiers, Two Zero C Applied Arts and Waterhouse & Dodd, all from London, and from outside the capital come Haynes Fine Art from Broadway and Bruno Cooper from Norfolk. There are also several dealers from Germ-any, Switzerland, France and Argentina.

Dr Eisenberg has brought together a very respectable list of exhibitors capable of mounting a very good quality show, and his advertising, brochures and catalogue are all of a high calibre. The show has been advertised in the British trade press.
A benefit preview will be held on the evening of November 29 in aid of Thirteen WNET, the flagship station for the Public Broadcasting System.

This fair is eagerly awaited and stands a good chance of getting business going again in New York.
Certainly the exhibitors have high hopes and Dr Eisenberg himself could not be more bullish. The fates have been unkind to New York, but in their way have given this new fair a prominence no amount of pre-publicity could have bought.
Admission is $15 of which 20 per cent will be given to the Twin Towers Fund.