Monday, August 10, 2009
Gramercy's Vintage Thrift Shop
Where do New Yorkers spend a humid August afternoon? At the Zagat rated Vintage Thrift Shop - where traffic was so congested, that I had to wait until several frugalistas exited before I could get in. It's not as busy as Trader Joe's where the line for the privilege of paying at one of the 22 cash registers is 45 minutes, but busier than let's say Saks shoe salon, so big it has its own zip code, where a major 70% consolidation sale started last Thursday. Usually I just pop by and drop off my donations, but I had to investigate what all the buzz was about. The last time I was there, someone sauntered off with a pair of Prada shoes with soles that had never touched the ground - and a hard to find size 5 too. A vintage one-of-a-kind Lanvin belt was being priced and put out for sale while I was donating. Among the real finds - the costume jewelry - why pay more for less at a retail shop for fake 70s and 80s when you can find Debbie Harry, Madonna heyday studded cuffs here? Tired of the same old Drew Carey eyeglasses found at every optical shop? Discover an original stand-out pair here. Check out the shoes too - while many are worn, think of it as a treasure hunt to see if you can unearth brand new ones. The best time to go? Transitional periods - such as Fall and Spring when closets are cleaned, although new merchandise arrives daily. When everyone is tweeting at the tents in Bryant Park, try out Vintage's window auctions - no stilettos necessary shopping - but bidding can be fierce. Vintage has so many donations, they even have stuff in storage. Also look out for the "blue tag" fifty percent off sales when the goods are marked down even further after a few weeks on the floor. Find furnishings, hats, vintage gloves, housewares, matchbook covers, etc. Talk to the salespeople - they are fashion curators! Friday afternoons are busy, as are Sundays. Go shopping for back-to-school items, or a new armoire. Apparently recessionistas everywhere are shopping the thrifts. According to a report by the The National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops (NARTS), issued this month, nearly 80 percent of their survey respondents experienced an increase in new customers. And the quality of incoming merchandise was either higher (28.2 percent) or the same (59.1 percent), with only 12.8 percent feeling a decrease in quality.
Peruse in-person in Gramercy Park thrift-shopper heaven or online at vintagethriftshop.org. Or donate, and get a tax deduction!
PERSONAL NOTE FROM GSNYC: This is in my hood and is definitely one of the better thrifts around. I got a rhinestone "V" pin here...