Thursday, June 06, 2013

Astoria Jumps the Shark

The headline reads: "Trendy Consignment Shop Buffalo Exchange Opening New Store in Astoria." The text says, "Hip consignment shop Buffalo Exchange opening its first Queens location in the neighborhood"! Ditmars is all but dead to me. Buffalo Exchange is a national chain of about 50 stores that started out west. The only reason they're in NYC is because the market in Williamsburg was juicy. There are five in NYC. What's next? We have hip Starbucks. Maybe we need a hip Urban Outfitters? Tre cutting edge. Also, Buffalo Exchange might be doomed here, because as we all know from Queens thrift stores, "Garbage in, garbage out." There just isn't good enough firsthand stuff here to make interesting secondhand shopping. Unless they circulate stock among the stores? You want to know what makes a hip store? It's the kind owned and operated by people who live nearby. I strongly suspect Buffalo Exchange replaced one of those.


Meg said...

Actually, the space used to be a Hallmark store; hardly an indie shop. It's helpful to know, too, that locally-owned SITE is expanding to three times its size. It will change its name to Lockwood, open this summer, and offer all sorts of interesting things, including women's clothing. Stock will be curated by its owner, who has great taste. I'm more excited about that than Buffalo Exchange, frankly.

PCM said...


But I'm still scared about the seemingly inevitable chain store invasion.

Anonymous said...

obviously you are not a native new yorker and do not know how good Astoria thrift shops are.

go shop at the vintage stores in Brooklyn, whom come here to stock their stores.

PCM said...

That's funny. Cause Brooklyn must get up pretty early in the morning to take all the good stuff!

The Furniture Market (though not technically a thrift store) is great. And the thrift store on Ditmars has some good stuff. And of course you score big if you can score at Build It Green.

But outside of that? I've seen used goods marked-up on Astoria Blvd for more than resale cost new! And just because you're selling junk doesn't mean you can't organize that junk.

As to record selection? How much Herb Albert and Broadway Showtunes can one man take?! Good God the older generation of Astorians had limited (and bad) musical tastes! I like a little Tony as much as next Astorian, but didn't anybody here listen to funk, soul, or anything vaguely underground? To each his or her own, I suppose. There's no accounting for taste.

I think there's a reason for our lame thrift stores. Of course rent is too damn high. But leaving that aside, Astoria doesn't save or value the old. Any thrift of value (as opposed to cool kitch) basically stopped being produced in the 1970s. Things today are rarely built to last.

Good thrift stores need supply in the form of lots of old homes with lots of old people with storage space that nobody touches for years. We don't have much of that.

And when homes and apartments are remodeled with "new" (meaning the cheapest of whatever Home Depot has in stock), everything old of interest goes with it. There's just not enough old left around here!