Highs & Lows of a Trailing Spouse (or How I Discovered Thompson Street)

After my third meeting of the week at a top publishing house with editors who said that they’d love to hire me for freelance (which I can’t do because of the restrictions of the H4 visa) but had no full-time work, I was experiencing a pretty major trailing spouse slump.

However, while New York (and its immigration laws) might have a way of kicking you down, the city also has a hell of a way of lifting you up. To offset the caffeine from my morning meeting, and a case of what Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s calls the “mean reds“, I embarked on a mega walk that took me down from 27th Street to Washington Square.

Just south of the square  I came across Thompson Street and, oh happy days, what a  treat. The pretty tree-lined streets held vintage shop after vintage shop of treasures, delights and jolly nice people who wanted to share their advice and tips of living in New York with me.

I started at Stella Dallas, which had an excellent selection of retro vintage pieces from the 40s through to the 70s and a whole rack of well-priced vintage fur, leather and sheepskin coats (about $350 for full-length 1960s mink; $150 for a 1970s Afghan coat).

(I can’t work out how to get the pictures off my camera phone so this image has been respectfully pinched from this artice on nymag.com)

I’m on a hunt for a good leather and fur coat after our first experience of New York snow, as apparently they are the best for warmth and wind-proofing (not to mention they look awesome cool) but unfortunately I couldn’t find one that fitted or didn’t make me look like the Sasquatch. The shopkeeper didn’t mind at all that I spent a good 45 minutes in there playing dress up (or she was too polite to say).

I did come out with a pretty alpine-style embroidered woollen jacket for $40.

Further down the street, The Kimono House gave this textile junkie one more fix. With some stunning antique pieces (with prices as high as $900) and some modern versions for a lot less, I was happy as a magpie with the beautifully printed silks and cottons, decorated with birds and flowers in corals, golds, reds and blues. Yukimo helped me try one on but they made me look a bit like a Dim Sum. In another life, I’d waft around the apartment wearing one.

My last forage took me to Legacy, which supplies items to Liberty in London. The best bit about the shop (apart from some interesting designs from independent labels) was Jessy the owner who imparted an array of information from where to buy curtains to where to pick up the best antique/vintage/cheap furniture. She and her business partners have just opened up a homewares store called Dry Goods at 362 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill (nearest subway is Schermerhorn and Hoyts, which is pronounced “Skimerhorn” – thanks Jessy), which I’m very keen to check out. Especially to see the beautiful 1900s hardware store cabinets she has sourced to display the heritage homewares. Jessy promised to send me pictures, which I’ll post when I can. (Have posted them now – see here.)

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One thought on “Highs & Lows of a Trailing Spouse (or How I Discovered Thompson Street)

  1. Also not to be missed in Thompson Street is Janice Berkson’s shop full of lucite handbags. She is a real authority and an incredibly friendly, classy lady, too. She’s not there every day but the chap who works there is also a serious expert – and a bit of old NY bohemia. Highly recommended for the fashion curious, such as yourself, love: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/lucite-in-the-sky-with-diamonds/
    Deco Jewels, 131 Thompson Street.
    (In my first weeks here, she was one of the most forthcoming and friendly people I met on my own wanderings in the neighborhood.) xx

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