Thrift stores abound on the UES! Not too many know this about the district with one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country. But yes, not only are there are great 2nd hand designer stores, there also are great thrift stores. In this installment of the UES I will focus on the less expensive thrift stores that you will find in the neighborhood. However, if you can't wait to explore this neighborhood and would love to check out the designer resale stores, you check out the handy-dandy map I've created.
This image was taken from the HW website. It's a photograph of the 17th street location.
As seen on the map numbers 1 & 8, the Housing Works Thrift-shops are my favorite thrift stores! Not only are there great articles of vintage and second hand clothing, many designers will donate overstock or samples to these stores. Sometimes even the original tags are on the pieces. I have found Marc Jacobs shoes, dresses and tops with the original price tags. I also bought a brand new pair of Cheap Monday jeans there. Housing Works also offers great furniture, hence my couch that bought there. It was still wrapped in the plastic, an overstock item from some furniture company. It's a pullout couch, wool fabric with bolsters with a low price of $400! The two Louis XV style chairs I also picked up from there for . . . $75 ea.!
On the UES there are two Housing Works locations. One on 90th and 2nd avenue and the other on 77th street between 3rd and 2nd avenue. I tend to find better deals at the 90th one because I'm convinced the people who price the product don't know its worth. I've bought all of my furniture and artwork from this location because of that. But there are always lines before the store opens on weekends. There are definitely cat fights at this location too! Its intense. The 77th street location is great for clothing, the last time I went I bought a BCBG Maxazria blazer for $30 and a J.Crew wool blazer for $8 (because it didn't have a price tag and the girl at the register charged what she thought it was worth).
photo found here.
2. The Arthritis Foundation Thrift Shop expels the perfect musty-mothball-grandma thrift store smell. Although I haven't found anything here yet, there is a good selection of both men's and women's clothing.
Photo found here.
3. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop is a very large thrift store that is well organized. You'll never know what gems you'll find here. Sometimes a little over priced, the best time to go is during the 1/2 off sales. One time as I was passing by, I noticed the same exact pinched pleat drapes that my mother had. It was so odd because hers were custom made! This is the photo I took from my IPhone. She could not believe it! (see below)
4. & 9. The Spence-Chapin Thrift Shop is a store that I have not yet explored myself. I have heard great things about it though.
According to The New York Magazine Shopping Section the "Spence and Chapin, long bastions for the education of New York’s blueblood feminine heirs, sponsor thrift shops to support the Spence-Chapin organization’s considerable good works in the larger community, mainly by recycling the high-end, high-quality cast-offs of elegant, label-happy UES moms. The jam-packed store donates thousands of dollars every month to charity, earned from the sale of near-new castoffs like Prada and Miu Miu dresses, Carolina Herrera leather totes, and Marc Jacobs peacoats, all at half their one-time retail price—or less. Granted, the gently worn clothes can be a season or two behind, but how much does a year matter when you’re talking Lacoste polos or lined Ralph Lauren gray flannel slacks? The shop is organized by category, with men’s clothing towards the back and women’s offerings crammed onto racks that line the whole space; a selection of furniture—heavy on the kitchen tables and chairs—is also available. The shop is usually crowded with both merchandise and people; shop early for the best picks. While the jaundice-suggestive fluorescent lighting could be better for choosing among the used Luca Luca gowns, shopping at the Spence-Chapin thrift shop is worth it for the bargains alone. Sadly, no schoolgirl uniforms are for sale." — Faran Alexis Krentci
That sounds great to me. I'll definitely be checking out this gift shop very soon!
5. At the Cancer Care Thrift Shop you'll find, after some scrounging and digging, designer brands with the tags still on them along with some cute costume jewelry, and handbags. All proceeds benefit CancerCare's free, professional services for people with cancer and their loved ones.
6. I've never made it to the Council Thrift Shop because they're hours are 11-4:45 and closed on Sundays. But according to reviews, for a thrift store it can be a little pricey. One reviewer from Yelp.com ended up buying a Krups espresso machine for $17.00 though.
7. The Goodwill store is one of the larger stores that is definitely lower priced then the UES thrift stores because most of the people who tag the items do not know who's who and what's what when it comes to designers. In the past I've bought a few Ralph Lauren Purple label blazers for $8. Upstairs is the mens department, where nice button-down dress shirts can be found. Last week, my boyfriend found this really nice flannel. It was a weird no-name brand "Criminal Damage" (we had a chuckle) but its a great plaid and nice colors. The store is well known for putting their better pieces in the window displays. Once a month or sometimes biweekly on Saturday mornings the store will sell the goods via first come first serve. If the merchandise is worth it, there will be a line down the block. This store is definitely worth looking into.
The original article from the New York Times, published on June 10, 2009, features the Goodwill stores. The location in the picture is of the Chelsea store. That's another neighborhood with great vintage finds. The Chelsea installment is coming soon!