City Opera Thrift Shop

City Opera Thrift Shop


Neighborhood: Flatiron District
Type of Place: Thrift Shops

A benefit "shopping event" brought me to the City Opera Thrift Shop for
the first time. The store hosted this evening for, and
gives its general proceeds to, New York's City Opera--and though you
won't generally find opera costumes here, you may well discover an outfit
that would serve you fine as a properly attired audience member for
"Aida" or "La Boheme."

The shop is known for its especially well-preserved second-hand and
vintage clothes--and for its emphasis on designer stuff. The event I
attended was held from 5-8; and a member of the staff told me that by 5, an
eager line had formed outside.

Very regrettably, I didn't get there until almost the end. (I would
have been earlier, but I carelessly and went to West 23rd rather than
East. If you want to know what occupies this same address on West 23rd:
It's the Chelsea Hotel!) I can only imagine what I missed...but I was
still plenty impressed with what I found.

Such as: Several cute Pendleton cardigans for spring, including a pink
short-sleeved number, size medium ($20); an elegant long-sleeved gold
tunic from Rue Blanche, size 2 ($25); a demure silk blouse from Pink
that actually was pink, with rose-colored polka dots, size 8 ($25); a
fresh green-striped Oxford blouse from Foxcroft, size 8 ($10); and a
flawless beige-knit Armani dress, European size 40/US size 8-ish ($50). All
were in perfect condition. At the very end of my rack-hunting, I found
what was, for me. a major treasure: a dress by a designer I love,
Maggie London, also in perfect condition and in my size (7), for $35 (her
pieces usually start at about $150). I was about to try it on--but the
staff, which had kindly let me stay past 8, really wanted to go home, and
I couldn't blame them. So, last I knew it was still there. And you can
go back and look, certainly, but I really hope I beat you to it!

Even if I do, I'm confident you'll find lots more to make you happy. In
my brief visit, I concentrated on the clothes, since they'd been
specially culled, sorted, and presented for this event. But the shop also has
great books and, I hear, more-than-ocassional terrific furniture finds.

AND ANOTHER THING: The space is small-ish, so go in the middle of a
weekday, if possible, to avoid crowds. See something you love but don't
absolutely need? Sure, go for it; the price is likely to be right, and
hey, it's for charity! The shop accepts donations and will pick them up
if they're big enough; call for details.
  - Pamela Grossman; March 5, 2006

City Opera Thrift Shop
222 East 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010
(212) 684-5345