Friday, October 16, 2009

Housing Works Thrift Shops

There's many things to like about Housing Works thrift shops: chic eye-catching window displays, great bargains (although it can be hit and miss depending on the day), high-end fashion merchandise at greatly discounted prices, 40 to 50% off sales on already slashed prices, and an absolutely fantastic mix of unique furniture pieces, most at affordable prices. Because New Yorkers are such savvy, quick shoppers, the best furniture pieces always have a "sold" on them.

But the best thing about shopping at Housing Works is that purchases help their efforts with AIDS and homelessness. Housing Works is the largest community-based AIDS service organization in the U.S. and since 1990 has been providing housing, medical and mental health care, meals, job training, drug treatment, HIV prevention education, and social supports to thousands of homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS.

Although Housing Works has seven locations in New York City (and one in Haiti), we've only been to our neighborhood Chelsea location on West 17th Street and the store in Brooklyn. We're not sure what the other stores are like, but we have a feeling the West 17th store is the best (the Brooklyn store, for example, was much smaller and carried a less diverse merchandise).

If we were staying in New York for the long haul, we would have absolutely bought this shelf/storage unit. This swiveled around 360 and has a full-length mirror on the back as well as coat hangers on one side. A good looking functional piece and a good deal for $50.

In any other state, a man wearing this jacket might look a bit special or even criminal. But we're pretty sure a man in New York could style this and pull this off any time of day to any place.

This barber's chair was expensive at almost a thousand dollars but if you have the money, like many people in New York do, then what a great buy.

And even if you walk out of the store empty, it's always a fun visit - listening to workers singing to an old Madonna hit or watching customers furniture battle or observing girls stalk other girls for boots and dresses. Housing Works also has some great events. I really wish I could be at their Bride on a Buck 2 event. I'm sure the event will be nutty and the dresses will be sold out in under an hour. Someone should definitely tape the scene of women at the fiercest moment - bargain shopping competition.

After a Housing Works visit, walk across the street to Angel Street Thrift Shop. That's where I scored my Phillip Lim coat. Fun times shopping in New York in the fall!