The Wu-Tang Clan once famously said, “Cash rules everything around me” and boy, isn’t it the truth. From what we wear, all the way down to what and how we eat is controlled by the amount of money we have to our names. Young college students specifically are the citizens in this society who carry the burden of money and how to manage it more often than not. As a college kid, it’s important to spend what you have in the most efficient way possible. Fortunately, we have these crazy things called “thrift stores” that exist for those of us who are, well, "ballin’ on a budget." Thrift stores are a great way to maintain a great sense of style without leaving your wallet screaming for help after you pay for your items. Below are the five thrift stores in New York City that you should visit whether you’re itching for a shopping trip, or just looking for a new top for your night out.
Thrift stores, by nature, are a blessing as is, but a thrift store that donates its proceeds towards an important cause resides on a whole different level of amazing. Cure Thrift shop, located on East 12th Street, is a non profit store that donates all of its proceeds toward juvenile diabetes research and advocacy. The Founder of Cure, Liz Wolff, was unfortunately diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the mere age of 11 years old. From that day on, she has made it her mission to find a cure for the disease that now affects approximately 15% of Americans.
Not only is the mantra of this thrift store incredible, but the pieces you’ll come across while shopping inside are just as great. The store is small and quaint, carrying female, male and unisex clothing. Here, you can find a comfortable sweater, a nice pair of dress pants, flannels, old t-shirts and much more. While you’re shopping, feel free to take a look at some of the small obscurities they have sitting around, as well as the interesting photos hanging on the wall. Believe me, it makes the experience all the better.
This hard-core thrift shop is all you could ever ask for if you’re the type to carry the edgy, punk rock kind of aesthetic. This spot, which you’ll find right off Saint Marks Place, makes an impression the minute you step inside. Slightly horrifying (and I mean that in a cool and interesting way) figures, and leather jackets that look like they were worn by Joey Ramone himself hang proudly from the walls. Just a heads up, don’t bother trying to have a conversation with your friends or attempt listening to music through your headphones while shopping around this place, because heavy screamo/metal music is almost always blasting through the store.
Shopping at Search & Destroy is an experience in itself, but man, is it a great one. This place is a band-tee junkie’s heaven, where you can pick up some of your favorite vintage band merch without having to drop close to $100 on each shirt. Don’t get me wrong, there are pricier pieces in this place, but the good news is that it’s easy to find awesome articles of clothing that meet your budget as well. Aside from the sick band-tee’s, Search & Destroy is the go-to place to find your new favorite pair of Doc Marten’s, authentic leather jackets and even unique costume wear.
Disclaimer: Make sure you aren’t heading to your grandma’s house after shopping here; the plastic bag you’ll get for your purchased items says “F*** YOU” instead of the traditional “THANK YOU” style shopping bags.
If you’re a frequent thrifter from New York City, then you most likely already know how much of a staple this thrift store company is. With six different locations and a great price point, L Train Vintage is one of the hottest places to hit if you want to buy some sweet clothing without spending a fortune. L Train really has it all — a flannel section, tank tops, leather jackets, sweaters, hoodies and tees. Might I mention that their denim jacket section is one of the best I have ever laid eyes on in NYC, both price and quality-wise. The denim here ranges from famous name brands like Levi, to more low-key brands, which are both ticketed with unbeatable price tags.
You can find an L Train vintage store in Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, East Village, Gowanus and South Park Slope. If you can’t make it to one of their physical locations, be sure to check out their online store, which will be up and running again on April 1st, 2017.
Despite the religious connotation in the title, this thrift store has little to do with monks and minimalistic solitary living. Monk Thrift is located on MacDougal Street, right in Greenwich Village. This particular store is super great for the simple fact that you can find great quality, high-end pieces for the best price. Like most of us, you probably love Louboutin but despise the price. You also might be interested in an authentic “Members Only” bomber jacket, but might not be so interested in the price tag from pretentious online stores. If you're nodding your head to any of these things, then you should probably just head to Monk Thrift and check out their extensive collection of vintage clothing.
The shop isn’t exactly your typical thrift store. This place carries more of a high-end, expensive vibe while maintaining the quaint secondhand feel of a mom and pop, local thrift store. At this store, you can chose to pick up a couple beat up tee-shirts, or a beautiful pair of vintage shoes. The choice is yours.
Charity and philanthropy seems to be the name of the game when it comes to certain thrift stores, and I’m living for every second of it. Similar to Cure Thrift Shop, Housing Works fights to end national crises that occur in our world today. The coolest part? Housing Works tackles not only one, but TWO issues: AIDS and homelessness. The famous AIDS activist group, ACT UP, created this special place in hopes to give back, and benefit those without homes who are stricken with the life threatening disease of AIDS.
Shoppers truly hit a home-run with this organization, as they have physical thrift store locations, a cafe, an online auction for purchasing items, special outside events and even catering! You can pick up some low priced clothing items from a Housing Works thrift store at any of their whopping 14 locations around the New York City area. In addition, be sure to look out for any workshops and talks held at their cafe location on Crosby Street.