23rd Street Has Become Thrift Shop Row


It’s been that way for ages, I know, but not to this miraculous extent.

East 23rd Street, mainly between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, is now filled with stores hawking stuff that has been discarded, left behind, rejected, or dropped from a truck.

And there are some great finds to be, you know, found there.

Here are the street’s most notable purveyors of discount chic.

City Opera Thrift Shop (222 E. 23 Street) has two floors of books, clothing, furniture, and other interesting doodads. They make you check your bag on the way in, but it’s OK. It’s really hard to steal a five-drawer dresser anyway.

Goodwill Store at 220 E. 23 has racks of clothes, and in the back, shelves of mugs, vases, plates, silverware, and pig bookends. It’s low-rent kitsch heaven, and if you keep searching, you’ll even find low-priced DVDs of those two essential films, Chicken Run and Johnny Dangerously. No, really!

Cauz For Pawz (212 E. 23) has two levels of your basic fashion, furniture, books, and shoes, and some proceeds go to animal shelters. Take the world’s bumpiest elevator to the lower level for the “blue tag sale”. Just becawz. The staff is happy and friendly, by the way, which always makes for a higher-class thrift experience.

Don’t be fooled by Family Store right next door. It’s a Salvation Army! They hate gays! Don’t give them your five cents at any cost! Besides, the place is truly a depressing dive, especially compared to the nicer, healthier joints I’ve been telling you about. And the harsh lighting is appalling! Being seen there is both career and social suicide.

But the Housing Works at 157 E. 23rd is super snazzy. They tend to get upscale looking pieces, and they’re pretty reasonable; I just saw a perfectly fine dining room set complete for four chairs for only $200. You have to transport it yourself, though, so non van drivers should probably stick to the kitsch shelf. And your wallet will be happy there too.

And then there’s Vintage Thrift Shop at 286-3rd Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets, where my friend Christian Freedom got me gorgeous Pierre Cardin shirts for 10 bucks. He says they also carry great costume jewelry, housewares, and art (often nudes), donated by students at nearby SVA.

Enjoy your bargains!

You’ll find that they’re really vintage.