City Opera Thrift Shop + East 23rd Street Gems

Second Hand or Bust!

Second Hand or Bust!

City Opera Thrift Shop on East 23rd Street in NYC is one of my favorite spots. Ok, the prices are pretty high as far as second-hand shopping is concerned, but they hold a distinct niche for their one-of-a-kind items, especially couture, vintage and costume jewelry (think rich folks going to the opera, eh?). Their furniture offerings are chockablock with custom pieces from their supporters’ estates, and whoever is in charge of their stock and displays deserves a medal. Oh. And their sales (and salespeople) are fantastic.

On a recent jaunt, when I told the lovely man behind the counter that I ran a blog, he whambammed me with postcards for their Fall Preview (click the photo), AND told me of a secret cache of thrift stores on City Island in the Bronx. He said it’s a little known fact that many of New York City’s original landed gentry still occupy a great portion of the island, and that when their estates are liquidated, they pretty well stay local. I haven’t personally made the pilgrimage to see for myself, but as soon as I’m able, you’ll get a feature!

East 23rd Street boasts FOUR thrift shops in a two-block stretch between 2nd and Lexington Avenues. Housing Works marks the Western front between 3rd & Lex, then between 3rd & 2nd, you’ve got a fantastic little Goodwill and an interesting Salvation Army before you hit City Opera.

To fortify myself for a couple of hours of Goodwill hunting, I always stop at Sophie’s Cuban restaurant on 23rd between Broadway & Park for one of their crazy-amazing empanadas and a café con leche. A lovely little goûter on the run that will fill you up, hit your happy spot, and won’t run you more than $5.

Anyhoo. A lot of NYC’s thrift stores are joining forces to take part in Fashion’s Night Out, which means that even if you can’t make it to the event itself, you’ll be sure to find “pick of the litter” items on the racks from some of your favorite designers!

Now get out there and save!

All best,



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  • Any fool can spend money. It takes intelligence, creativity and bravery to get what you want at the price you can reasonably afford.
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