Best place to turn cartwheels over a button - 2006
The regal Statue of Liberty that guards New York with her stern visage and raised lamp isn't the only monument to the millions of immigrants who made (and still make) our city great: the giant Pop Art button-and-needle assemblage atop the Fashion Center kiosk at Seventh Avenue and 39th Street serves as a whimsical testament to the ceaseless toil of those who built this city one shirtwaist at a time. Wander down any of the streets of the garment district (approximately one square mile surrounding Madison Square Garden) and you'll find pattern cutters, wholesalers, and specialty stores aplenty, including the amazing Vardhman Inc. Of the many sellers of dazzling fabrics, braids, trims, and notions along 38th and 39th streets between Seventh and Eighth avenues, this delightful shoebox is the best reminder that buttons are not merely those things you click on websites. Vardhman has literally thousands in almost any shape you can name (and some that defy description) crafted of bright metals and plastics, some encrusted with beads and gaudy faux jewels. But the real treasures are the little works of art in horn, bone, and wood. If you're into DIY couture, here's where you'll find the perfect closure for that gorgeous garment you've just whipped up. If you're more the aspirational type, just buy a handful of the wonders and display them like the treasures they are.