Thursday, February 24, 2011

Interval Adventures: Shopping with the City Opera

I've been keeping my nose to the academic grindstone this week, but succumbed to the blandishments of the advertised Spring Vintage event at the New York City Opera's thrift shop, and headed down for a look around. Now, I'll admit that I feared that what were advertised as "unbelievably low prices" on vintage Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Missoni, etc., and prices in any way approaching approachable for the graduate student's budget might be poles apart.  But I went down, and lo! I found the promised land of thrift shops.

There were, indeed, racks of beautiful suits, jackets, and gowns from designers whose names are whispered in awe.  I overheard one lady saying to her friend who was fingering a fur coat longingly, "Get it! Just get it!  Do you know how much that would cost somewhere else?  And look at the work on those seams..."  Indeed.  My stealthy reconnaissance showed that most of these articles ran from $125 to $325... but for suits!  Really attractive and well-made ones.  Still beyond the graduate student's budget (except for, perhaps, the special occasion of a prestigious conference... or maybe an opera gala) but nota bene, Gentle Readers.

The great news is, however, that nearly all of the racks in the City Opera thrift shop were filled with attractive, well-made clothing... with price tags ranging from $15-$45!  There was a lovely lace skirt that was a shade too large, and a dazzlingly splendid taffeta gown that was a shade too small, but I came home triumphantly clutching a nice knit top and sheet music for Tchaikovsky's Chanson Triste.  The upper floor of this Ali Baba's cave featured furniture, shoes (dear woman with size 11 feet, I admire your taste,) CDs (mostly not opera,) LPs (mostly opera, and nice recordings at that, some still shrink-wrapped,) and an impressive collection of literary fiction in paperback.  There are two pianos for sale too.  So if you've always wished you could find a second-hand shop with dark wood floors and fittings, velvet-curtained fitting rooms, and a mixture of opera singers' crossover albums and quirky pop on the stereo, have I found a thrift store for you!  Plus, every purchase funds the creation of costumes at the other Lincoln Center opera house, where rehearsals are underway for L'Elisir d'Amore with David Lomeli as Nemorino (go here to hear him singing "Una Furtiva Lagrima") and Stefania Dovhan as Adina (go here for a slightly fuzzy sample.)  You see, Gentle Readers, I haven't forgotten my priorities.  And there will be more opera reviews soon.


  1. Oh, ENVY. I love thrift/vintage stores and that one sounds fabulous beyond belief. I really hope that lady bought the fur coat, too.

  2. Aren't they great? This was on a street full of them, too, so if you're ever in New York... :) I didn't see the result of the Fur Coat Deliberation, alas.


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