Rainbows and Triangles

Neighborhood: Chelsea
Type of Place: Gift Shops Card Shops Gay/Lesbian

June 28th of this year marked the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, which in turn marked the birth of the gay-pride movement. To honor this, I ducked into Rainbows and Triangles, which bills itself as "New York's #1 Gay Superstore." Since 1994, the Chelsea shop has been offering gifts, cards, clothing, accessories, and "adult merchandise" (stocked in a separate room in the back, which means the main shop space is kid-friendly. I didn't venture into the back room, figuring that whatever's there is strictly up to personal taste; but I'm telling you so you'll know it's available).

Perhaps the Joan Rivers and Jackie Collins books do cater to a gay-male clientele; and perhaps "The Boy Who Cried Fabulous" ($7.95, and really very cute) is not the picture book you'd choose for every child. But I found a lot here that women (gay or straight), girls, gay men, and in some cases the secure straight man would enjoy. I loved a belt with a buckle that reads "Drama Queen" ($29.99—and OK, maybe not the choice for the majority of straight men, but quite great for the right wearers); a t-shirt with a cartoon of the Golden Girls and the opening line of the show's theme song, "Thank you for being a friend" ($29.99); a canvas tote that says "Beach Stuff" ($19.99; gay or straight, young or old, this will be useful for all but beach-haters); magnets reading "New York Princess" ($3.99, and a fun gift for the tween or teenage girl in your life); a Breakfast at Tiffany's journal with Audrey Hepburn on the cover ($14.99, and again, which teenage girl wouldn't like it?); a book of Bollywood posters ($34.95, very cool, and I'd never seen one before); cute silver piggy banks (small $7.99, large $12.99, and who couldn't use one?); "statement" mugs, $12.99 (I liked the one that says, "Life isn't about finding yourself; life is about creating yourself"); and DVD sets of the seasons of "Maude" ($29.99, featuring of course the immensely talented and dearly missed Bea Arthur). Also more widely useful are the bathing suits (currently buy one, get the second at 40% off—great deal!) and the sunglasses ($18 per pair). A wide selection of cards—some "clean," some not so much, and starting at about $2—amused me for quite a while. I bought one for my friend Drea that said, "Here's to looking fabulous on your birthday...but enough about me!"

Each time I thought I was done taking notes, something else of interest caught my eye. A device billed as an actual "gaydar" ($19.95)? How incredibly useful that would be, if it really worked! I pointed it at myself, and it told me I'm straight, which is correct; I was hugely tempted to point it all around the store and see what it would say, but I restrained myself (barely). If you're ready to think ahead to Christmas, sets of six disco-ball ornaments in various colors are on sale for $3.99. And if you've got a gay wedding to attend, this is the place to get your gay-marriage-themed card.

I truly had fun here, browsing and listening to Stevie Nicks over the sound system. It may be a "gay superstore," but unless you and your loved ones are devoid of all style or humor, you won't have to be gay to enjoy it.
  - Pamela Grossman; July 12, 2009

Rainbows and Triangles
192 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10011

Average rating:
What do you think?