Wednesday, July 31, 2013

West Village Wonders

The wonders of the streets in Manhattan is that if you look closely, they are sprinkled 
with vintage stores all around. In fact, the five boroughs of New York City are surrounded by 
hidden treasures that house old world pieces waiting to be discovered. These stores may be 
famously known, or just heard through the grapevine. Although Fifth and Madison Avenues may 
be known for it’s endless selection of stores, the cozy West Village offers quaint streets, vintage, 
thrift, and consignment stores. I've ventured around to find these rare gems are the ones with a true story to tell.


The Silversmith
184 3/4 West 4th Street in New York City. Who can forget a number like that? Between Jones and Barrow Streets lies the smallest hidden gem of a jewelry store, possibly the world’s smallest store, known for its collection of sterling silver pieces, and standout Native American jewelry. The building number is unique for it’s past confusion with the building next door, also numbered 184. I spoke with the long-time owner, Ruth Kuzub, who looks back on the good old days, “I started out working here in the 1960’s, there were a few owners the store was passed down to before me, and eventually I took over as the store owner.” Open on evenings only, the streets do not allow much for heavy business. “It’s usually slow, business-wise, and it doesn’t help being close to a dry cleaner.” The Silversmith also offers repair services and special orders.

Star Struck Vintage Clothing
If you’re looking for the perfect Hawaiian short or faded blue jeans, Star Struck is the go-to. Located on 47 Greenwich Ave., the consignment and thrift shop offers a great selection of womenswear and menswear including rock tees, leather jackets, western wear, and formal wear as well as accessories and jewelry. Stylists, editors, and everyday people find the store to be a wonderland of spectacular finds. On the store's website, designer Rebecca Minkoff quoted, "Star Struck Vintage Nested along Greenwich Avenue is this small but pack filled vintage shop with some comfy sweaters, denim button down and bedazzled blouses.”

The women’s vintage store, selling clothing and jewelry attracts the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, and Nicole Kidman, who are frequent customers. The store owner, Lorraine Kirke, established the store in 2004. She is the mother of Jemima Kirke, star of HBO’s Girls. As a globetrotter, Kirke sources her merchandise from around the world, bringing together one of a kind pieces, including higher priced womenswear clothing, jewelry, and accessories, as unique as the exotic decor around the store including dim chandelier lights, faded floral wallpaper, and delicate gold photo frames.

This brightly colored store is something you surely cannot miss while passing by West 14th Street between 7th and 8th Ave. Plenty of cowboy boots fill the top stands of the clothing racks, which were filled generously with affordable womenswear and menswear band tees, blouses, jeans, and dresses. If you walk towards the back of the store, you find a small stair case, leading up to a larger selection of dresses and accessories. The space is mid-size, and business seems to pick up on the weekends.

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