Kirn McGuire Antiques

Kirn McGuire Antiques


Neighborhood: East 30s
Type of Place: Antiques/Crafts


Before I say anything else about the lovely Kirn Mc Guire Antiques shop, allow me to let you in on one critical piece of info: The vintage-prints selection—primarily magazine ads, beautifully preserved—will rock your gift-giving world. The items available are widely varied (classic car ads from the 1950s, psychedelic record-label items from the 1960s, etc.), to match your assorted gift lists. They look fresh (what's old is new!), whimsical, and altogether fantastic. And they're generally priced from—ready?—around $2 to $5. Choose a piece that suits your giftee's tastes and interests, place it in a simple frame, and you're set. But if you don't have time to frame, give the item as it comes (nicely mounted on cardboard), and you've got a thoughtful, original gift for little more than the price of a card. All around, this is a terrific little store.
It's been at this location since 1976 and has the feel of a genuine, real-deal New York find. Co-owners Rick Kirn and Frank McGuire preside over the various artifacts and run the shop day-to-day; listen as you browse and you're likely to hear them laughing over in-jokes or bickering about item placement, giving the place a "family" vibe that takes you in even on your first visit. It's a treasure trove for those who don't mind searching; space is limited and stock is plentiful, so you've got to be willing to dig. But it's worth it.

You'll find antique cameras, vintage pottery, estate jewelry, and a great many other captivating odds and ends, reasonably priced. When we visited, there was a sale on vintage sunglasses: $3, or two for $5. And the selection of books simply blew us away. An out-of-print mid-60s art book titled "Double Exposure" (celebrities writing about their famous peers, with great portrait photos) was $10. "The Princess Gift Book" (1968; $7.50) would be a groovy gift for any psych-pop princess in your life. And the picture book "I Wanna Be a Lady Plumber" (also 1968; $10) was autographed by the author "to Caroline and John"—who indeed were children at that time. As we said, persistence pays off here, yielding anything from the perfect (and currently very trendy) bejeweled brooch to a Betty Crocker ad just right for a hipster housewarming. With good prices and a knowlegable, instantly likable staff, this place should be famous—but we're very glad it isn't (yet), so we don't have to share it with the crowds.
  - Pam Grossman; 10, 2004

Kirn McGuire Antiques
155 Lexington Ave.(at 30th St.)
New York, NY