New York's Best Antiques and Vintage

In 'The Curious Shopper's Guide to New York City,' author Pamela Keech offers tips on where to find the best Bakelite jewelry, Asian furniture and mid-century modern lighting. Read an excerpt

Stern is a prized resource for designers, and she rents many of her pieces to stylists for print ads, editorial photographs, and films. Her jewelry is regularly seen adorning models in Vogue, Elle, W, the London Times, Glamour, and Harper's Bazaar. In addition to jewelry you'll find vintage compacts, glassware, perfume bottles, lamps, chandeliers, and other period bric-a-brac. Shipping is available.

Deco Etc. 
 122 W. 25th St. (Ave. of the Americas/Seventh Ave.)  
 Daily 11 A.M.-6 P.M. 
 What to look for: stylized lamps and Lucite handbags

Deco Etc. is a mini-museum of mid-twentieth-century industrial design. At each turn another pair of wildly imaginative lamps, a piece of streamlined furniture, or a quirky handbag comes into view. The shopwindow holds sculptural glass lamps made in Venice by Alfredo Barbini, Marina Barovia, Archimede Seguso, and the house of Venini. In the entry, a chrome robotic pig lamp from the 1970s with glowing eyes lights the way to two tall French Deco lamps topped with dancing figures by Andre Arbus. Nearly life-sized stark-white torsos form the bases of a pair of lamps by James Mont; they sit on a glass table by Donald Desky, who designed the interior of Radio City Music Hall. Graceful wooden lamps from the 1950s by Edward Wormley are nearby. Interspersed among the designer pieces are anonymous lamps that once decorated the living rooms of America--tall, short, boxy, bulbous--some with monstrous chenille shades, with the vivid color combinations (coral and black, dark green and chartreuse) that epitomized the 1950s.

A large showcase near the rear of the store holds hard, boxy Lucite handbags made in the 1940s and '50s. Some are clear, and some are in opaque colors and trimmed with mother-of-pearl or rhinestones. These collectibles can range in price from $200 to $2000. The average price for the handbags at Deco Etc. is about $500.

New York Vintage 
 117 W. 25th St. (Ave. of the Americas/Seventh Ave.)  
 Mon.-Wed. 11 A.M.-6 P.M.; Fri. 11 A.M.-6 P.M.; Sat. and Sun. 10 A.M.-6 P.M.; closed Thurs.
   What to look for: vintage designer evening wear

New York Vintage sells couture vintage clothing and accessories, as well as small personal items such as compacts and cigarette cases. The store has high standards for its collection; store policy is that everything must be of superior quality and in excellent condition. The result is an outstanding shop where the clothing appears to be new--even a peacock blue beaded bustle gown circa 1885. Designers represented include Jean Muir, Mary McFadden, Giorgio Sant'Angelo, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Chanel. Frocks by the avant-garde master of prints Ossie Clark could be worn, then framed. The selection of evening wear is lovely and affordable. A Gattinoni one-shouldered silk print tea-length cocktail dress from 1972 is $750, and a black taffeta full-skirted floor-length gown with blue velvet trim by Oscar de la Renta is $495. Customers include celebrities, costume designers, stylists, and discerning shoppers looking for that perfect something.


Bluedog Coffee Co. 
 101 W. 25th St. (Ave. of the Americas/Seventh Ave.)  
 Daily 8:30 A.M.-between 4:30 P.M. and 6 P.M.

Wonderful coffee, fresh pastries and baked goods, sandwiches, salads, and freshly made entrees that change daily. Limited seating (there is a bench outside). Inexpensive.

Cafe at Showplace Antiques Center 
 40 W. 25th St. (Fifth Ave./Sixth Ave.) 
 Sat. and Sun. 8:30 A.M.-5:30 P.M.; closed Mon.-Fri.

Self-service sandwiches, salads, and soft drinks. Inexpensive.

Antique Cafe 55 
 55 W. 26th St. (at Ave. of the Americas)  
  Daily 8 A.M.-10 P.M.

Known for seasonal outdoor seating in a sheltered plaza. Serves light breakfasts and lunches, pasta, steak frites, wine, espresso, ice cream. Inexpensive to moderate.

Pamela Keech answered your New York City shopping questions in a chat session on Nov. 28, 2006. Read the transcript!

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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