shopping 04.8.14

Alan's Alley Video
Every Person in New York

Can you name a video store that has itself been the subject of a documentary? For that matter, can you even name a video store?

As so many have shuttered in the past decade, there is at least one that remains a beloved neighborhood favorite as well as a go-to resource for ad agencies and television shows needing special footage.

Alan's Alley Video, 207 9th Ave. [22nd/23rd] 212.645.0999, opened in 1988 by Alan Sklar, is a mess and he and his many fans wouldn't have it any other way. The hand-written labels are peeling off VHS boxes, the dust is covered with dust, and the carpet has been scratched into a fright wig by D.J., the cat. There is a vacuum cleaner parked in a corner that may not have been used during the entire Bloomberg administration. When would they have time to vacuum anyway since the store is open every day of the year?

Mr. Sklar's film knowledge gives him the ability to recommend the perfect movie for you and he has the stock to back him up. There are 40,000 titles to choose from—a shelf of Ken Russell-directed movies here, movies starring Ingrid Bergman there, plenty of MGM musicals, recent hits, foreign films, a shelf of devil movies, one for scams, heists and thieves, another for SNL grads.

In 2012, Alessandro Magania and Max Tannone directed a 23-minute documentary about the store called There Were Always Dogs, Never Kids. In the film, Sklar is asked for his favorite movie. While he doesn't commit fully, he does say I Know Where I'm Going, the movie from 1945 starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey, is up there.

When asked what kind of order the store is in, Sklar says, "It's in hypothetical order."

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

RIP Billy's (from 2012)

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