With the announcement of yet another village antique shop closing I figured it's time to put this post together. Shophound (via Racked) notes that Kyner Antiques at 827 Broadway is shuttering, with the rent going for $65,000 per month. (The neighboring Lions has also fallen, now covered in graffiti.) The blogger asks if antiques are disappearing from Broadway. The answer is yes.
And whatever virus is killing them has long been spreading around the corner to 11th Street. For months, the shops there have been falling like dominoes.
Walk down 11th between Broadway and University and you walk a gauntlet of defunct shops, empty windows, For Lease and We've Moved signs. Paramount Antiques. Big Apple Antiques. While the big Broadway shops are turning into condo sales offices, the storefronts on 11th are being transformed into yoga stores and boutiques that sell clothing for dogs.
A few months ago I asked one of the shopkeepers, a grizzled man who has long intrigued and intimidated me, what he thought was happening there. My question offended him. "When was the last time you bought?" he asked. I told him I don't buy antiques. He sniffed, indicating that I had my answer. When I inquired further, he barked that I should learn to keep my curiosity to myself.
While I don't buy antiques, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy and value their existence. I like walking that block in the mornings and seeing the shipments coming in. There are still dealers surviving and keeping the street alive.
Through their gorgeous gate, Royal Antiques regularly welcomes truckloads of golden chairs with arms made of serpents and crusty chandeliers that look like they came from the ceilings of medieval castles. You never know what you'll see there. You might come upon a life-size stag, its antlers green with verdigris. Or a nude nymph reclining on a chaise lounge, her bronze breasts gleaming in the sun.
With Antique Row vanishing, soon these unusual treasures will all be gone, replaced by doggie sweaters and yoga mats. I probably won't be buying them either.
All my Antique Row pics here