Thrifting in New York

New York City is known as the fashion capital of the U.S. But, is it really the holy grail place for thrifting?

During my most recent trip to New York, I got the chance to visit two popular thrift stores. They aren’t your typical Goodwill or Salvation Army though. These are “thrift stores” that sell curated used clothing. Thus, the prices are more expensive than a regular thrift store. 

1.)   Search and Destroy

25 St Marks Pl A, New York, NY 10003

This place is hell on Earth. Not just because of the atmosphere, which feels like walking into a horror movie, but because of the unwelcoming service and how the overall workings of the place was as horrendous as the bloody bondage mannequins hanging from the ceiling.

When you first walk up to the store, you’re introduced by a storefront window filled to the brim with rather frightening plastic baby dolls. And as you step further inside, it’s like you’re stepping into someone’s worst nightmare. But, in a low-key cool, interesting, kinda curious way. As a fan of horror, I found the decor cool. But, it’s definitely for the 18+ shoppers. Aside from the gore, it was very sexual. Right in front of the register, there was a book that was chained so you couldn’t flip further than the page it was set on. Pictured was an unsettling pornographic image with a sign warning shoppers not to flip further. I’m pretty sure I was greeted by at least seven dildos before reaching the back of the store.

Let me walk you through my experience. Right as I walked in, the cashier, who I later found out through Yelp reviews was the owner, practically yelled at me for coming in with a bag filled with my purchases from a previous store. She then motioned to me in a reprimanding tone to give her my bag, which I did, I mean I can understand her worrying about stealing. In return, she handed me a playing card with a naked woman on it. The reason I decided to stop in was because I had only heard positive reviews about the place. But, as I looked through the racks, the selection was practically nonexistent. I was imagining it to be filled with vintage pieces with cool prints and graphics, considering it was a curated thrift store. But, all I could find were old shirts that I’m pretty sure the previous owners had gotten for free. You know what I’m talking about. Like the free shirt, you get after running a marathon or for managing to eat a whole ass pizza by yourself in thirty minutes. Those types of shirts. And the shirts that I found actually worthy of purchase were too expensive. Like I’m talking $50+. Way too expensive for used clothes that aren’t even worthy of calling “vintage” in my opinion. In addition, the place was as unorganized as a Forever 21. Shoes were just laid out on the floor in no particular order to the point where I couldn’t tell if they were for sale or part of the decor. Like this is something I would expect from Goodwill, but even Goodwills are more organized.

I wouldn’t recommend this place for shopping, but I’d recommend you at least visit for the decor. Which, by the way, I tried to take pictures of, but was then yelled at by an employee. You would expect they would allow shoppers to take pictures of the crazy decor, but apparently not. When I got home though, I looked at reviews and apparently there is some racist decor I had missed. Among the fake genitals and Halloween masks, there’s a lot of Nazi propaganda. Yikes. Overall, if you like unpleasant service and spending hours to find a somewhat affordable band tee, then Search and Destroy is the place for you!

2.) L Train Vintage

 204 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10009

L Train Vintage, or at least this location, was quaint and had more business than Search and Destroy. Considering how crowded it was, it seemed very promising. But, again, I was disappointed. The racks were filled with overpriced garbage. The same type of clothes that sat on the racks of Search and Destroy. That “free shirt I just won for collecting box tops for my school” type shirt. It was more affordable than Search and Destroy though. The prices were what I had imagined. Anything from like $7+. There were some cool leather varsity jackets and a collection of overalls. Other than that though I wouldn’t waste a train ride there. They have I believe two other locations in Brooklyn. I’ll be sure to check them out whenever I get the chance to visit New York again.

In conclusion, the thrifting scene in New York was disappointing. I guess I had gotten my hopes up since New York is known for their fashion. But, every city has it’s piles of shitty clothes too and I guess they gotta end up somewhere.

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