To most people who grew up outside of the metropolitan area, “thrift store” means cheap clothes that are quick fixes for an empty wallet and a starving wardrobe. A Salvation Army or local hospital charity store will yield sometimes cool and vintage-looking items for about $5; I spent most of high school scrounging secondhand places and the one vintage store in an hour radius of my hometown (where I once got a floor-length leopard fur coat for $40).
You can imagine my surprise, then, when I first moved to New York a few years ago and discovered that even Goodwill can be overpriced. An old tee that would normally cost $2 would be marked up to $20, and forget even looking at anything labeled “vintage”–even my grandmother’s muumuu can fetch $60 in certain Manhattan boutiques. I despaired. How else was I supposed to dress myself? I missed the thrill of the hunt, the sifting through musty men’s button downs and neon track jackets to uncover the perfect _____(insert heart’s desire). Plus, I liked being able to go shopping and not spend tons of money.
Though it’s taken me awhile, I eventually found few places that deserve the thrifty label, where I can nab four or five pieces for under $30 (as I did this weekend). Here are some of the city’s hidden secondhand gems (and some more well-known ones that are just plain awesome).