clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Where Paper's Drew Elliott Gets Trashy on Fifth Street

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

New York City has more stores than anyone could physically tackle, but somehow we always keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, we've asked some local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems—those unique stores around our fantastic city that we might not all know about. Cue the Beatles: We're about to get a little help from our friends.


Image via Yelp

Drew Elliott serves as VP of creative services and marketing at Paper Magazine, where he puts together some of NYC's best parties on a dime, spin tunes at the DJ booth (he goes by Drewpsie), and is always down for a challenge (did you see his interior design transformation for Mickey Boardman's apartment a few years back?) Naturally, he's got good taste. Which is why he turned us on to White Trash, an East Village shop specializing in mid-century home furnishings that opened 15 years ago.

Fifth Street in the heart of the East Village is a quiet block, but set just east of Second Avenue is a true New York City gem, though the name would lead you to believe otherwise. White Trash, a mid-Century home furnishings boutique, is a hidden secret just waiting to be discovered by those who wish to bring a bit of Danish Modern into their interior vision.
The space, small in size, is packed with reasonably priced teak wall units, Eames tables, T.H Robsjohn Gibbings cabinets, and antiqued brass lighting fixtures. All of the items are curated by owner Stuart Zemsky. Fifteen years ago the store opened as a kitsch shop and you will still find a sense of humor lingering in the air. "We have a 'stick your tongue out at the fancy antique store' attitude," Zamsky says. Nothing in the shop seems precious, but each piece, whether it be a desk lamp or a rare find like the Frank Gehry cardboard pieces that once had a stay at the store, feels that it has a colorful past.
They don't have an eBay store or a 1st Dibs outpost, and they're not part of a "virtual mega-store" as Zemsky calls it. This is a brick and mortar location that is run with soul. "I'm a bit ambition-less," says the actor-cum-antique-owner. 'It's just a business. We are hand to mouth here. We don't have a storage space...what you see is our stock."
The name? Well, Zemsky and his wife were sitting outside the Holland Tunnel, staring at their Jetta with seven Formica tables stacked on top of the roof. "Wow, honey," Zemsky said to his wife, "We are white trash." This "trash" will be your new treasure.
· White Trash [Official Site]
· All Shopping Confidential Posts [Racked NY]

White Trash

304 E 5th Street New York NY 10003