Jean R. Sinenberg, ‘Queen of Antiques’

Dec. 3, 1932 - Feb. 15, 2016

Jean R. Sinenberg, an antiques dealer who owned Georgica Creek Antiques in Wainscott for 30 years and organized shows on the South Fork for four decades, died at her daughter’s home in Bridgehampton on Monday of respiratory failure. She was 83 and her health had been declining, Suzanne Sinenberg, her daughter, said.

 “She was the queen of antiques,” said Ms. Sinenberg, saying that her mother ran the Hampton Antiques Festival and Sale in Bridgehampton for 42 years and founded the East Hampton Historical Society’s annual antiques show and sale in 1987, running it for 23 years. She also sold folk art, English and European antiques, painted furniture, quilts — whatever people were buying at the time, her daughter said, adding that she “was a classy lady with taste” who worked tirelessly and created her livelihood from nothing. “She worked seven days a week,” Ms. Sinenberg said. “She was like the Energizer Bunny. And, she was tough in business, but fair.”

Born on Dec. 3, 1932, in Brooklyn, her parents were Eli Rosenbush and the former Ruth Adler. She graduated from James Madison High School in Brooklyn and studied the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.

She got into the antiques trade in the early 1970s, first opening Meeting Place in an old butcher shop in Port Washington. In 1975, she joined E. DeForest Cole, one of the first to produce shows on the South Fork. She bought the August show from him, held at the Bridgehampton Community House, and transformed it into a “wonderful event that people looked forward to,” her daughter said. There were four a year in its heyday. The shows continued until 2009, when her mother canceled the 43rd edition, citing the recession and down economy.

     By the late 1970s, as she transitioned into a full-time resident, she opened the Back Barn at Hayground. She later opened a shop on Main Street in Bridgehampton, near the Hampton Library, calling it  the Quilt Gallery, because she was selling lots of quilts at the time. That shop’s last location was farther up Main Street, near what is now the Bridgehampton Florist.

   In 1982, she rented the old Exxon garage on Montauk Highway, near Wainscott Stone Road, opening Georgica Creek Antiques; she purchased the building in the 1990s. Georgica Creek Antiques closed in 2012, and the space is now leased by Serena & Lily.

Ms. Sinenberg first owned a house with her former husband on Rutland Road in Springs, where she spent summers and weekends. She settled on Clyden Road in Wainscott, and served, for five years, on the East Hampton Town architectural review board. She also lived for a time on Scottline Road in Sagaponack, but sold the house about three years ago and moved in with her daughter.

She was hesitant about revealing her age, her daughter said, and when asked, would say, “Can you keep a secret?” to which she would always get a yes. “So can I,” she would reply.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, Clifford Sinenberg of Sea Cliff, and two grandchildren. A sister, Grace Shiff, and a brother, Sidney Rosenbush, died before her.

The Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton is handling arrangements. A graveside service will be held tomorrow at Edgewood Cemetery in Bridgehampton at 2 p.m.