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You might walk right past the narrow but action-packed kitschy shop on East 4th stocked with a wide array of gifts for all occasions and persuasions. With one cozy end-to-end aisle lined with items cute, useful, clever, campy, beautiful or tasty, like champagne infused gummy bears, Random Accessories at 77 East 4th Street is a feast for the eyes and all other senses, and our July Business of the Month.
Originally a jewelry shop on Thompson and Houston Streets when it opened in 1996 and for around a decade following until the building was sold, Random Accessories came into being when proprietor Lynn Freidus opened a new and more diversified store on East 4th Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue, in a building operated by good guy non-profit neighborhood landlord Cooper Square Mutual Housing. She was already familiar with and a member of the New York Theater Studio, her neighbor on the block, whose subscription members are now Random Accessories’ regular customers. At the time Lynn signed her lease for the current space, across the street where another cultural leader on the block, Downtown Arts, is now located was an empty lot. La MaMa of course is also a notable presence on the block, now known as Fourth Arts Block (FAB).
The name of the store itself was kind of random. Lynn likes all things Italian, and had a name all set in that language. In those days you had to go downtown and look up city records in a book to see all the business names, and that one was taken. So with a few days until she had to sign a lease she realized that the name game was kind of random. And so Random Accessories was born.
The store has many loyal local customers in addition to students and tourists. Lynn curates a funky array of gifts, some from the trade shows she attends, from Javits to Atlanta and beyond. She says with confidence that she has this year’s surprise stocking stuffer, the Kinetic Coil. It has a certain feel to it, like the old scalp massager — a good gift for the digital age.
That’s just the beginning of the surprises to be found in the store. In a glass case is jewelry by Stoned, with a variety of wonderful luminescent stones. Then there are edibles like salt water taffy and Don Perignon-infused candies. Baby gear is visible up front, for gift givers and receivers of all ages.
From one of many stellar reviews:
“It is a small store but don’t let that deter you from entering. The selection of random gifts is just mesmerizing. The whole store is fully packed, definitely is going to take at least half an hour to truly browse all the items. So many funny and cute gifts here! I usually shop here when I want to send care packages overseas. The recipients always loved the selections I sent them from here! (So do I). There is a tiny sale section at the back corner so don’t miss that area as well. They cover almost all genre of gifts ranging from jewelry, books, calendars, cards, mugs.. ah, I can go on and on about this. I don’t want to ruin the surprise too much for you guys..believe me, they will at least make you chuckle, haha. The staff is always friendly and helpful..makes you feel really welcomed to browse and shop. The store really lived up to its name, RANDOM accessories! I think they should add another word in there – random great accessories!”
The store is a wonderful gem on one of New York’s most vibrant and eclectic streets. Lynn’s secret is to have something unique and interesting for everyone at a reasonable price. She pays attention to cultural and aesthetic currents, but remains true to her own aesthetic. She also treats customers well. So plan to visit or just go randomly to Random Accessories, our July Business of the Month.
What special small business would you like to see featured next? Just click here to nominate our next one. Thank you! #shoplocalnyc
And here is a handy map of all of our Businesses of the Month: