#SatoriVintage is a recurring series where our vintage fashion expert, Max, rummages through local vintage and thrift shops to find cool items to buy. (Or just try on, play with, feel up and ultimately put back.)
The Arthritis Thrift Shop, in the heart of the Upper East Side, is not, as its name might suggest, a place where you can purchase joint inflammation at a discount. Rather, this shop, on 3rd Avenue between 81st and 82nd streets, sells its donated goods to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.
Although the UES’s social scene is decidedly untrendy, the local thrift stores profit from its enclaves of well-to-do UPPAbaby-stroller-pushing families and Chanel-suit-clad old money. From the window, I spotted a nice old-fashioned clock, and heels from Gucci and Jimmy Choo. On the inside, the women’s section, which takes up most of the floorspace, had heavy doses of Ann Taylor and Lilly Pulitzer. The men’s rack was crammed with Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, and crinkled football jerseys. The homewares nook had delicate glassware and an entire shelf of monogrammed crystal ($12 for one six-piece set).
At Arthritis, under the gaze of the entryway’s mannequin, which was dressed like a quirky eight-year-old on her first day of school, I felt like I was getting arthritis as I fingered through the hangers, searching for a piece worthy of my attention and money. A few items stood out for their character, if not for their quality or pricing.
Under a vomit-hued Rothko imitation (more than you can afford) and beside a possibly racist figurine lamp ($300), I found an unpriced Kleinfeld wedding dress and veil. Its lack of price tag suggested a provocation: if you must buy your wedding dress here, and benefit from the former owner’s annulment, divorce, whatever, you must look a salesperson in the eye and say so out loud before you get to know the price.
A $35 glass dome would be perfect for your next Beauty and the Beast themed party. Just add an enchanted rose (not included).
If you’re looking for a DVD of the 2004 Hilary Duff movie Raise Your Voice, this is probably the only store in Manhattan where you can purchase it, and for only a few dollars.
There is a rotating rack of endearingly tacky ties. I imagine they’ve been discarded by the wives of the UES’s resident corporate men. These won’t pass at a Wall Street office, but you could probably wear one ironically to your next kombucha tasting.
I am forever in need of more mixing bowls, so the one thing I honestly considered purchasing at Arthritis was this $25 three-piece set of Pyrex bowls. After a quick google search, I found the same set of bowls at Target, new, for $16. This did not give me much confidence in the pricing of the rest of the items in the store.
My favorite piece, a stuffed Elmo, was not for sale. It smiled at me as I walked outside and up to the 2nd Avenue Goodwill, which is bigger and cheaper than the Arthritis Thrift Stop, and less haunted by the outdated fashions of Park Avenue’s grandmothers.