Sunday, May 3, 2009

Housing works - Upper West Side

When we walk into Housing Works Upper West Side store, me and The Boy have developed a little routine. At the front of the store is an arrangement of furniture that we walk around together, imagining where we would put the table or the desk in our imaginary house (our little Manhattan shoebox apartment cannot take anymore thrifty finds!). I then make a beeline for the shoes and clothes whilst The Boy heads for the books and CDs. This routine works beacuse I know exactly where to find him when I need to ask him abpout 5 times whether he really loves the fab shoes that I've just tried on.

My neighbourhood thrift store, the Housing Works Upper West Side store, located on Columbus Avenue between 74th and 75th street, is a little piece of New York thrifty heaven located one block from where I live.

The store is part of the Housing Works chain, which has seven thrift stores, located in upscale Manhattan neighborhoods, dahling. Each store has a fantastic window display, offers great selections and is well organized.

The Housing Works stores are the best kind of thrift stores - where you can buy a great pair of shoes or the perfect table for that spot in your living room - whilst getting yourself some good karma as your money helps provide services for homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS.

The store's clothing can often be expensive - compared to other thrift stores - and the selection can sometimes be a little staid - unless of course you are a 70 year old lady that lunches. There are however treasures to be found and you should always watch out for the sales - they often have them for different store items - when I went two weekends ago the whole store had 40% off and recently they had shoes 30% off.

The furniture selection is excellent -they have an eclectic mixture of functional and quirky pieces. Take for instance the rustic wood table or the modernist lamp I spotted there recently . The housewares are good and I have bought many a china plate there. The book selection is very good, with a mixture of genres and of hardbacks/paperbacks. For their spring clearance all books were 10 cents.

The shoe selection is my perdition. I simply cannot resist it, I have bought....err I rather not count....many a pair there. The condition and the prices tends to be very good. Here are the beauties I bought yesterday ($12), I need to figure out what to wear them with.

The store tends to get very crowded on Sundays, I'd recommend you go during the week or on a Saturday.

For the love of thrift rating (from 1 to 10):

Selection: 8
Presentation: 8
Niceness of staff: 6
Bargain factor (ie pricing): 7
Thrift turnover: 9

The Upper West Side Housing works sells furniture; housewares; women's clothing and shoes; men's clothing and shoes; books and CDs; and jewellery. Opening hours: 11-7 Mon to Fri. 10-6 Sat. 12-5 Sun.

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