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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 Google Maps
Jenne Lombardo, fashion director and curator for MAC & Milk, also runs The Terminal Presents, a new consultancy firm focusing on pairing brands with different talents in fashion, arts, music, and pop culture. We chatted with her a few months ago about her must-have Fashion Week essentials, and, now, she's back for round two. This time Jenne tells us why she has embraced those tourist shops that sandwich her downtown apartment and why it helps to look like a "struggling artist".
I live in Chinatown/Little Italy and am surrounded by tourist shops. While at one point they used to aggravate me, I instead decided to embrace them—only after I realized they weren't going anywhere. And only after I discovered this one shop that displays their t-shirts outside in the direct sunlight allowing them to ripen and weather to perfection. My first and favorite purchase is a thin and faded black t-shirt with a gun on it that reads "Welcome to New York—Fuck Mother Fucker".
The reason it is so special is because I begged the shop owner for the display t-shirt that got faded from the sun and became worn-in from spending weeks outside in the rain. Trying to explain to the business owner just how valuable this treasure was took about 20 minutes of negotiating and finally they unwillingly gave in. This purchase was followed by another black t-shirt with a picture of a bride and a groom that said "Game Over".
You can get great presents for friends dinner parties there as well. The trick to this form of gift-giving is context, context, context. If you give a friend an assortment of NYC-centric shot-glasses, make sure to pair with an expensive bottle of tequila or whiskey. Or a Lady Liberty ashtray should be accompanied with an expensive cigar or pack of European cigarettes and a vintage lighter. If you are in the neighborhood, go around the corner to the Gun Shop on Grand Street and pick up some great prints of deer, burglars and bullseyes that they use for target practice and frame them. One of my favorite prints purchased is a water-stained print of a neon-orange deer with a target on its head. The owners get a kick out of us "art school students" who go in to buy their images. I think they only charge a few dollars per image because they think I am a struggling student—so if asked, just go with it.
· MAC & Milk's Can't Survive Fashion Week Without Kombucha [Racked NY]
· The Terminal Presents [Official Site]
· All Jenne Lombardo Coverage [Racked NY]