Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Secret Girls Club - No Boys Allowed!

     One of New York's charming attributes that make it all the more intriguing are its many secret hot-spots, whether it be an unmarked underground club or the speakeasy that can only be accessed through a secret hallway. Of course, leave it to New Yorkers to make certain enthralling destinations more difficult to get into so that only an elite few can enjoy it. But perhaps this is their form of initiation into the city, meant only for those of us who live here to enjoy. What with our city being one of the largest tourist attractions, it makes sense to keep secret one of the few places left that have not been ransacked by millions only to have nothing left for the rest of us. It reminds me of my best friend and I who found the most wonderful boutique in SOHO years ago that had trendy, expensive looking apparel but was really dirt cheap. We had just made our rounds at the usual H&M, Topshop, and Zara but were disheartened as everything we requested our size in was already sold out. This is my weekly routine at H&M. I walk by the window display, see a fantastic jacket, ask the sales clerk where I can get it and they reply with, "Oh that's been sold out. We got it last week so its been on the floor for a while." Since when was one week on the floor a while? Well in New York, its an eternity. So at the time, as selfish and childish as it seemed, my best friend and I pinkie swore to keep this newly found boutique our little secret, convinced that if we let the word out everyone would flock to our magical haven and buy out everything we wanted.
     So I thought I had heard it all when it came to New York's secret hot-spots. I mean, what about those secret pools made out of recycled dumpsters that were popping up around Brooklyn a few years ago that you could only access if you ran in a certain crowd? But of course this city has its way of never ceasing to amaze me. I met someone at an event that I attended a couple weeks ago and as we were discussing vintage shopping she began to let me in on a little secret called Shareen's Vintage, which is a shop set up on the 2nd floor of an apartment on W. 17th Street. The funny thing is, the store's entrance (a big black door to an apartment building) is pretty much unmarked and unadvertised. It has strange hours so you would only know it's open because the store owner, Shareen Mitchell, leaves a beautiful red tulle dress hanging from the fire escape. Then it dawned on me that I have in fact seen that dress before! I was on my way to meet some friends for dinner and saw this enchanting red dress hanging outside. I thought it was so cute that I snapped a photo of it, only to realize much later that it was much more than just a dress being hung out to dry. The shop is set up as though you are walking into a friends apartment. Except that friend happens to have racks and racks of fantastic clothes set up in each of her rooms and the friend also happens to be very generous, offering you wine and snacks while you browse her closet. Major plus: the vintage goods are reasonably priced (items range from $20-100). To create an even more intimate experience, boys are not allowed so that girls can feel free to try on garments wherever they like. 

So there ya go...cats outta the bag. I guess I was never that good at keeping secrets...

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