When I was a kid my dad used to take me to his mates Junk Shop behind Burley Road, Leeds. It was small and cluttered and packed with the sort of things that came out of old peoples houses and went back out into art students houses. You don't see too many shops like this anymore. There's one near where I live in London but they've long since cottoned onto the idea that people will pay a fortune for old medical wall charts and 70s furniture. I was reminded of the shop in Leeds when I stumbled across the Liquor Store in TriBeca, New York a while back. Whereas Lister's Junk Shop just had cool stuff and junk the Liquor Store has very expensive cashmere sweaters, neatly folded and packed underpants, suits, caps, jeans and a variety of toys and novelties. But it still had the sort of allure you rarely find when shopping in brightly lit streets in big cities. You'd think the appropriation of an ancient New York Liquor Store to sell a mainstream brands products would leave you feeling a little cynical but the shop is so immaculate in its curation it's hard to not reach for the camera phone and your wallet. And it feels far more authentic and fascinating than the rock and roll jeans store that now occupies the carcass of CBGB's.
A bit of subsequent googling revealed the store had been there for a while but it was a joy to genuinely stumble across. To get a sense of it imagine a smaller Paul Smith shop but with ten times more collectable decorations. It's dark and cluttered and perfectly stacked with old magazines and records. The wardrobes that carry many of the clothes are bursting with items you can spend a few minutes just feeling without getting weird looks from the staff. Every shelf and bar is covered in curios. The walls host caskets of tobacco pipes and old memorabilia from a long gone era when a chap was a chap and socks weren't $40 a pair. I came away with a cashmere sweater, a cashmere cardigan and some Astronaut Ice Cream. There's another grey cashmere top I fancy, I'll be going back soon. You can find it at 235 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013 at White St.
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