Thrift shopping is one of the favorite past-times in our neighborhoods, whether by longtime locals, newcomers, or visitors. Who could possibly resist the allure of spending a weekend browsing the vast collection of quality, vintage, and affordable fashion to be found here? In August 2022, AMNY declared that New York City is the No.1 destination for thrift shopping in the United States, and, with over 40 independent thrift and vintage consignment stores, our neighborhoods rank as the most well-stocked in the city for new-to-you shopping.
Despite our current fascination with them, thrift stores are not a new phenomenon. These establishments have been around since the mid-1800s, created to provide affordable clothing to those in need while raising money and awareness for charitable causes. As cities like ours experienced rapid growth from the 19th century’s Industrial Revolution, mass-produced fashion made clothing buying more affordable, prompting consumers to view garments as disposable. Thus thrift shopping is both a consequence of and a rebuttal to the trend of clothing becoming ephemeral. By buying second-hand clothing, we reduce the amount of labor, waste, and transportation required to produce and market clothing, cutting carbon emissions. We also introduce a circular economy, one in which the money/resources we spend are reinvested in the wellbeing of our local communities.
*Looking to learn more about the history of thrift shops in our neighborhoods? Check out our excellent article “Preserving, Adapting, Reusing: Good for Buildings, Good for Clothing, Good for Small Business.”
To continue celebrating these captivating and sustainable businesses, I would like to share some of my favorite thrifts, fleas, and vintage resellers within the Greenwich Village, East Village, and NoHo:
The East Village:
The East Village has more vintage, secondhand, and thrift stores than anywhere in New York City (maybe on Earth). Our friends at the East Village Vintage Collective have partnered with the East Village Vintage Map to promote all 29+ businesses in the neighborhood. Visit them in person or via instagram to access the new map!***
East Village Vintage Collective – 545 East 12th Street (WED – SUN | 1PM – 6PM)
Affectionately called EVVC, this funky and fun establishment sells vintage toys, housewares, clothing, and novelty items. The basement is packed full of affordable vetements from the 1980s and ‘90s, and the owners stage regular pop-up markets for local consignment vendors and incubating businesses.
3rd and B’zaar – 191 East Third Street (WED – SUN | 1PM – 7PM)
This women owned and operated pop-up market sells vintage and secondhand wares and also acts as an art market and performance for local artists. They also offer fashion shows, tarot readings, and art workshops on a revolving basis with neighborhood artisans.
2nd Street USA – 712 Broadway (MON – SUN | 12PM – 8PM)
A favorite of NYU students and haute-couture hunters, 2nd Street sells vintage and secondhand designer clothing, especially hard-to-find Japanese labels. Each garment is conveniently organized by size and designer, and they offer buying and donating services to keep your closet looking fresh.
St. Anthony’s Market & Flea – Corner of West Houston & Sullivan Street (THU – SUN | 10AM – 8PM)
Organized by St. Anthony’s of Padua Church, this flea market sells secondhand apparel and homewares alongside creative products made by local artisans and vendors. The flea is part of St. Anthony’s missions to help its local community within the South Village and SoHo. The church itself was founded in 1886 and was one of the first churches to serve the South Village’s growing population of Italian immigrants during the turn of the 20th century, and was the first church in America built for an Italian congregation.
St. Luke’s Thrift Shop – 487 Hudson Street (WED – SAT | 11AM – 5PM)
Situated adjacent to St. Luke’s Church-in-the-Fields (Greenwich Village’s oldest church), this incredibly affordable thrift shop sells used clothing alongside antiques and necessary homewares. The store’s proceeds support the church’s core missions that support homeless and marginally housed LGBTQ+ youth as well as provide food and resources to families in need. Visit on Weekdays and Saturday afternoons, when both the store and the Barrow Street Gardens are open to the public.
Hamlet’s Vintage – 146 West 4th Street (MON – SUN | 12PM – 8PM)
Established in 2007, Hamlet’s is the largest vintage clothing shop in Greenwich Village. If you’re looking for unique and hard-to-find pieces from the 1940s – 1990s, then this is the place to go! Located next to Washington Square Park, the historic townhome the shop occupies was previously home to the Pepper Pot Inn, a 1920s nightclub serving bohemian and creative clientele.