Sidewalk Sales

Soho's Street Vendors

The streets of Soho, it turns out, offer far more than high-end duds with four-figure price tags and foreign labels. Camped in front of those cast-iron edifices are a burgeoning group of weekend vendors selling handmade merchandise to rival anything in the shops. Here are four of the best.


Ted Rossi
photo: Shulamit
Ted Rossi
West Broadway between Prince and Spring

"I'm Ted [left]. He's Rossi. We hand make these cuff bracelets. They're our invention. We started by cutting up a suede belt of mine; now we use the finest leathers and skins. We're in stores in Europe, and we're transitioning to high-end boutiques in Manhattan—we'd rather not name them. On the street we sell them for between $25 and $70. Being out here is a very good way to learn about the market. Our business is the result of us losing our jobs after 9-11—something good came out of something bad."


Pamela Branche
photo: Shulamit
Pamela Branche
West Broadway, just south of Spring

"I consider myself to be quite an artist. I go to thrift shops and get antique plates, the older the better, for my mosaics. A typical mirror is around $35. A friend of mine showed me how to work with mosaic tiles, plus I use stained glass and I do soldering. I used to make a lot of jewelry. I work at home, but my daughter wants me out—she's always saying, 'Go get a studio!' "


Dawn Ebony Martin
photo: Shulamit
Dawn Ebony Martin
Prince Street, usually near Wooster

"These silk wrap dresses are $75. I design and make clothes from silk, cashmere, cotton, and ultrasuede. I had a store in Soho for five years, but on the street you're more visible, less intimidating. There were snowflakes this morning; luckily, my truck's across the street—it has chairs, blankets, everything. I'd sell to stores, but I can't make things fast enough."


Kay Brenham, Atmosphere Kinetic Sculptures
photo: Shulamit
Kay Brenham, Atmosphere Kinetic Sculptures
Wooster Street, just off Prince

"I sold these sculptures in Covent Garden in London. I came to New York about four months ago—it seemed like a good move. We deliberately tried to price them—they're $20 to $25—in the range of a CD or a shirt, but they're handmade and they're art. Some are ultraviolet and they shine under black lights; others are metallic, they shine in the sunlight. You shape them yourselves. I like being outside; it's nice and fresh and you meet lots of people, though the cops hassle you. You're allowed to sell art, but the cops say sculpture isn't art."

 
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