shopping 06.11.14

The Demolition Depot

Way east on 125th is not an area brimming with retail foot traffic.

The reward of a visit, though, is Demolition Depot, 216 E. 125th St. [2nd/ 3rd] 212.860.1138, four stories and a backyard of every architectural and design element imaginable, providing idiosyncratic design pieces for homes, restaurants, bars and hotels.

As shopping goes, it's an adventure. On the ground floor, they'll give you a clipboard so that you can write down item numbers of things you're interested in; later you can find out the prices, many of which will be higher than you expect.

The warehouse is darkish, though lights turn on as you move through different areas. Bringing a flashlight along isn't a bad idea. There's a clowder of cats in residence that the store cares for. The floors creak.

Intrepid souls will find items from the Malcolm Forbes townhouse, antique mirrors, tony bathrooms built for the 1905 opening of Buffalo's Hotel Lafayette. Fireplaces in marble, wood and plaster. Pieces from the Plaza and many estates, radiators, chandeliers, exit signs, street signs, clocks and wood doors. Lots of doors, including a whole section for single French doors. (Are single French doors still French doors?)

Out on a landing, we spotted the door for the Office of the Chancellor, Joel L. Klein, when he was the head of the city's Department of Education. We can't think of a use for it but maybe you can. Also: stained glass, large record player consoles, medicine cabinets and bicycles built for two. Ideally, there would be a crazy aunt or uncle in the attic but saw no sign of one.

Instead, it's an eccentric cache of stuff that might have ended up in a landfill, that, with some imagination, can add a lot of character to a room or a large renovation.


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