Best indie shops: Chelsea

  • Angel Street Thrift Shop

  • Beyond 7

  • Beyond 7

  • Deborah Marquit

  • Fisch for the Hip

  • Fisch for the Hip

  • Nest Interiors

  • Nest Interiors

  • Opening Ceremony at Ace Hotel

  • Opening Ceremony at Ace Hotel

  • Pippin Vintage Jewelry

  • Printed Matter

  • Printed Matter

  • Project No. 8

  • Rags-A-Gogo

Angel Street Thrift Shop

Photographs: Krista Schlueter

Angel Street Thrift Shop
Since 1997, this upscale secondhand store has been a socially-minded bargain hunter’s haven: Proceeds from the gently used designer samples and vintage treasures benefit the Lower East Side Service Center, a non-profit that assists individuals suffering from chemical dependencies, HIV/AIDS and mental illness. Angel Street receives new merchandise several times a day through donations from individuals and corporations, meaning you’ll stumble upon one-offs like a pair of never-before-worn J. Crew gingham capri pants ($15) as well as an entire rack of Anna Sui logo tees ($6 each) direct from the supplier. If you’re redecorating your apartment, make this your first stop: The furniture selection is especially strong, and can turn up a full-size foosball table ($300), ergonomic office chairs ($40), a sturdy wood table ($80) or a Rosenthal crystal centerpiece bowl ($100). Unless you’re a masochist, don’t bother peeking in the windows before entering: Prime finds like Knoll chairs and Lambertson Truex handbags are displayed behind glass for up to two weeks before going on sale, at which point shoppers queue in the early morning to snatch them up quicker than you spotted them. 118 W 17th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-229-0546, angelthriftshop.com)

Beyond 7
For years, only fashion editors, buyers, celebrities and stylists had access to the edgy clothing and accessories displayed at Showroom Seven, a multibrand showroom known for its fresh new talent. But with the opening of this sprawling retail arm in 2008, the public can now get its hands on Issa London’s vibrant silk frocks ($280--$567), Wednesday Addams--worthy monochromatic sheath dresses by Andy & Debb ($1,057--$1,617), glam Tony Cohen chiffon evening gowns ($400--$800) and studded high-top sneakers ($650) from Hollywood Trading Company. One big draw is the Erickson Beamon multitiered chain necklaces ($430--$855) and sparkling oversized earrings ($252--$477), which outshine the crystal chandeliers overhead, and happen to be the product of owner Karen Erickson. For those looking to complete their rocker-chic look, Beyond 7 also sells mint-condition special-edition guitars ($1,750--$2,000) collected by Erickson’s husband, Eric. 601 W 27th St at Eleventh Ave (646-619-6857, beyond7boutique.com)

Deborah Marquit
Though lingerie designer Deborah Marquit’s incredibly sexy unmentionables are sold at stores like Barneys, you’ll want to make the special trip to her quirky boutique, which doubles as a design studio where she hand-dyes, cuts and sews every piece. Not only will you get to see a genius at work (Singer sewing machines and mannequins share space with the racks of merchandise), Marquit will personally fit you to make sure her bikini briefs ($75--$95), thongs ($65--$85), boy shorts ($95-$115), garter belts (lace $115, vinyl $185) and bras ($135--$225)—up to size 38D—adhere to every curve. The creations come in flashy Day-Glo neon, jacquard daisy-print, and black vinyl, yet somehow she manages to make even the most extreme colors and fabrics look classy and tasteful. 158 W 15th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-478-3092, deborahmarquit.com)

Fisch for the Hip
Label whores will go nuts for the well-edited selection of preloved designer clothing for both sexes at this jam-packed consignment shop. Brand name castoffs arrive weekly, though not just any Alaia dress will do: Owner Terin Tischer heavily curates her 22-year-old store’s offerings and has strict guidelines as to what she’ll carry (no pleats, nothing older than three years), meaning you’ll only find top quality and current styles from runway labels like Chlo, YSL and Marni. Though prices aren’t cheap, you’ll spend considerably less on dresses from 3.1 Phillip Lim ($300), a bustier by Alexander Wang ($180), a John Varvatos men’s leather jacket ($450) and shoes from Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik ($80--$350). There’s always a consistent selection of Chanel handbags ($700--$2,100) and, for those with bigger budgets, the shop prides itself on its wall of Herms handbags—a Kelly might run you $6,000 while an ostrich-crocodile Birkin could set you back a whopping $24,000. 153 W 18th Street between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-633-9053, fischforthehip.com)

Nest Interiors
This narrow shop is packed to the brim with an assortment of modern-yet-timeless home decor, all of which is hand-chosen by proprietors Lana Sexton and Henry Stozek. (The pair also operates a full-service interior design business under the Nest Interiors umbrella.) Sophisticated Patch NYC candles ($38) emblazoned with images of fedoras and pipes, John Derian paperweights ($30--$70) and agate coasters (set of four for $50) all make for chic housewarming gifts; while colorful Dransfield and Ross beaded, embroidered and printed throw pillows ($200--$400) and iridescent hand-blown glassware by local artisan Joe Cariati ($200--$400) add flair to any abode. Look for a small selection of high-quality furniture from Brooklyn designers, such as a white lacquer rosewood dresser from Palo Samko ($10,000) and a Matthew Fairbank turquoise-accented oak console ($8,000). 172A Ninth Ave between 20th and 21st Sts (212-337-3441, nestinteriorsny.com)

No. 8a
Located on the ground floor of the impossibly hip Ace Hotel, this gift shop (and Project No. 8 spin-off) sells the kind of NYC-themed souvenirs real New Yorkers would actually buy. In place of cheesy “I <3 NY” tees, you’ll find wool rat finger puppets ($10) and Statue of Liberty night lights ($12). Other items on the electric green shelves that tickled our fancy: vintage 42nd Street peepshow tokens ($5), Papabubble candy pretzels ($20) and DBA biodegradable pens ($8). There’s also a small selection of wearable goods, including Slow and Steady Wins the Race cape sweatshirts ($100) and Patrick Long’s Chester Wallace bags ($120--$165) designed specifically for toting a six-pack of beer. 22 W 29th St between Broadway and Fifth Ave (212-725-0008, projectno8.com)

Opening Ceremony at Ace Hotel
Along with No. 8a, Opening Ceremony’s sister store solidifies the Ace Hotel as a major shopping destination. In addition to the fashion plate-approved garb that the Soho location is known for, the airy 15,000-square-foot boutique stocks everything a hip traveler would need—and a New Yorker with serious wanderlust would covet. You’ll want the brightly colored Tumi for Opening Ceremony luggage tags ($30) and OC-branded toiletry kits ($20), even if the farthest you’re traveling is to your friend’s place in Astoria. Pick up Haribo gummi bears (ten packs for $18) and magazines like McSweeney’s ($24) to entertain yourself on your daily subway ride, all the while fantasizing how cute you’d look jumping up and down on a hotel bed in Band of Outsiders’ striped pajama sets ($320), or sprawled out on a Pendleton tribal-print beach blanket ($225). For those looking to take a vacation from their current look, OC sells Manic Panic’s wildcard beauty sets ($40) containing matching glitter, hair dye and nail polish in a surprise shade. 1190--1192 Broadway at 29th St (646-695-5680, openingceremony.us)

Parke and Ronen
Designed by Parke Lutter and Ronen Jehezkel, the boutique’s namesake line of menswear appeals to the sporty, sophisticated male who likes his button-downs crisp and his swimsuits tight-fitting. Though you’ll find Parke and Ronen’s figure-hugging board shorts ($85--$105) and Speedo-esque bikinis ($85) at high-end department stores like Saks and Bloomingdale’s, only the West Chelsea flagship stocks the full collection of sportswear, including such wardrobe staples as cotton slacks ($180), vintage-inspired semi-sheer cotton tees ($45) and plaid shorts ($108). Since you’ll need a buff body to pull off the body conscious clothing, there’s also mesh workout tanks ($45) and gym shorts ($52) inspired by vintage photographs of men playing basketball at the West 4th Street courts in the 1970s. Complete your look with special-edition sneakers by Generic Man and New Balance. 176 Ninth Ave at 21st St (212-989-4245, parkeandronen.com)

Printed Matter
At this non-profit organization dedicated to artists’ publications, you can purchase—or head to the public reading room in back to peruse—thousands of books and limited-edition zines dating back to the 1970s. Works by unknown and emerging artists share shelf space with those of veterans such as Richard Prince and Edward Ruscha; expect to devote hours skimming titles like Mark Dion’s informative Field Guide to the Wildlife of Madison Square Park ($8) and Lisa Anne Auerbach’s knitting pattern book, Charted Patterns for Sweaters That Talk Back ($15). You can also score such rare and unique collectibles as a racy 2005 Larry Clark calendar commissioned by skateboard company Supreme ($250) and a 1997 Ryan McGinness skateboard deck ($500); those with only a few bills to spare can cash in on cheap thrills like buttons from Yoko Ono’s “Imagine Peace” project ($1 each) or a framed Tom Sachs sticker pack ($20) from a 2003 Deutsche Guggenheim exhibition. 195 Tenth Ave between 21st and 22nd Sts (212-925-0325, printedmatter.org)

Pippin Home
At the end of a long claustrophobia-inducing hallway dotted with antique frames lies this furniture store, housed in a refurbished blacksmith’s cottage built in the mid-1800s. Its obscure location makes it the lesser-known counterpart to Pippin Vintage Jewelry, also owned by husband-and-wife team Rachel and Steve Cooper, who source their Mid-Century Modern and Americana finds from auctions near the Massachusetts-Vermont border. Stop by on Wednesdays, when a truck drops off fresh merchandise that somehow manages to retain the kind of affordable prices usually found only out of state: On a recent visit, we spotted an oversized silver office desk ($180), 1960s Lucite chairs ($135 each) and an old steamer trunk ($175). There’s also a hodgepodge of linens, silverware and assorted collectibles for putting the finishing details on your pad. 112 W 17th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-206-0008, pippinvintage.com)

Pippin Vintage Jewelry
If your grandmother failed to bestow you with adequate baubles, head to this petite shop, which puts antique jewelry within easy reach. With the exception of two glass cases containing estate finds like vintage gold watches ($500) and signed costume pieces ($95--$250) from high-end brands like Dior, glittering items are displayed openly on vanity tables and tagged at affordable prices (80 percent of the merchandise costs $45 or less). Most pieces are from the 1950s and ’60s, but can date as far back as the 1850s—you’ll know the decade from which your Bakelite bangles ($65) originated simply by checking the note on its tag. In addition to 1980s mother-of-pearl necklaces ($20), 1950s Japanese dead-stock beaded sweater collars ($18 each) and a ’70s-era copper penny bracelet ($22), you’ll find quirkier accessories such as a 1950s straw pillbox hat ($30), dainty pearl-buttoned gloves ($20) and Art Deco belt buckles ($36). Deal hunters should make a beeline for a pair of old wooden printer’s cabinets filled with glitzy brooches for just $5 apiece. 112 W 17th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-505-5159, pippinvintage.com)

Rags-A-Gogo
Owner Joshua Suzanne Ethier began her career in what she calls “the rag business” as the manager of now-defunct Alice Underground, and it’s clear she takes pride in her chosen field: Ethier hand-selects her merchandise directly from textile houses, wholesalers and warehouses for a mix of unworn dead stock and well-preserved secondhand goods. Unlike most of the city’s cluttered thrift stores, items are meticulously organized by clothing type (oxford shoes on one shelf, flannels on another) in a color-coded rainbow, making sifting through the men’s and women’s garb here a breeze. What’s more, like items are all priced the same, with logo tees marked $18 each or two for $30, Levi’s jeans and denim jackets tagged $35 and cut-off shorts costing a mere $10 to $20. Urban cowboys, take note: the store is known for its killer selection of cowboy boots ($65) and other Western apparel (hello, fringe!). 218 W 14th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (646-486-4011, rags-a-gogo.com)

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