Over the years Bushwick become a home to a vast, yet intimate, community of artists. From musicians to drag queens, the community seeks to create and inspire with their personal style, while keeping their spending budget to a minimum. Small, independently-owned thrift stores have long been an open secret for scoring the best looks at the best prices. Here are some local hidden gems that will make thrifting your own inspirational looks a breeze, without breaking the bank.
1. Domsey Express & Domsey Express IV
The fact that this chain is not more widely recognized as a thrifting gem is a crime. Clean and organized, the two locations are home to a regularly rotating selection of seasonal goodies. While the selection tends toward fast-fashion, a small vintage rack and hidden designer goodies ensures that everyone can find something that piques their interest. Masculine and feminine options are usually equally stocked, along with a few $1 racks and a few plus-sized racks. For those crafty sewers among us, fabric bits and textiles are also offered. Most items tend to fall in the $3-$10 range, with jackets and outerwear priced a bit higher.
431 Broadway 11211
9am-6pm Mon-Fri, 11am-5:30pm Sat, 10am-5pm Sun
Domsey Express IV
1379 Wilson Ave 11237
10am-6pm Mon-Sat, 11am-5pm Sun
2. New Brooklyn Fashion
This unassuming store is one of my favorite hidden thrift paradises. The deceptively small front disguises a large store with a huge selection of streetwear, designer, and fast-fashion brands with a few vintage items scattered throughout. While crowded, and a bit overwhelming, everything is clean and fairly well organized.
The best part is the diversity in style. Anyone can walk into this store and find their look, be it bohemian, goth, preppy, hipster, or any other. The feminine selection is much stronger than the masculine selection, but don’t let that fool you. There are plenty of unique masculine pieces just waiting to be found! Most items fall in the $4-$15 range. Items are priced by type, with a sign above the register giving you a handy reference guide.
1065 Broadway 11221
11am-8:30pm Mon-Sat, Sun 11am-8pm
3. RGR Family Thrift Store
It’s impossible to pass by the large street-facing windows of this store without noticing the shoes stacked high on display. Once temptation has drawn you inside, the selection is nearly overwhelming. The shelves and tables are covered in designer heels, nearly-new brand-name boots, masculine and feminine sneakers, and leather sandals of all colors, shapes, and sizes.The rest of the store, while not as initially appealing, offers a decent selection in both masculine and feminine pieces, with a focus on retro and modern items.
The store even boasts a small selection of children’s items in the back. While you browse through the slightly chaotic racks you may notice that there are no price tags. To find out the price of an item, you must take it up to the front register and ask. While this can be frustrating, if offers an opportunity for bargaining for the hagglers among us. A pleasant personality and a smile could go a long way toward knocking an extra $5 off of the price of an item you can’t live without. Prices tend to range wildly from $5-$40 but on average items tend to stick to the $10 range.
1457 Broadway 11221
9:30am-6pm Mon-Fri, 10am-6:30pm Sat, Closed Sun
4. Broadway Fashion
This diamond in the rough is a must-go for the Instagram fashionistas. While the window displays seem to only feature gowns your aunts were wearing in the ‘80s, the inside racks house a surprisingly youthful and modern selection. If you didn’t tell that these items are from a thrift store, no one would ever know. It can take a bit of hunting, but you’ll be rewarded with items like Madewell denim, Urban Outfitters blouses, and Zara jackets.
Designer shoes are common, while the other accessories tend to feature unique and playful pieces. Some items have clearly marked tags, and some must be taken to the register for pricing. While the masculine section has the same pull of brand names and current trends, the selection of items is slightly smaller than the feminine section. Most pieces tend to be in the $5-$15 range.
1227 Broadway 11221
5. OG Flea Market
This thrifting experience is closer to a garage sale than a thrift store. Rotating vendors all set their own prices, and choose their own selection. This can make finding a good deal a little hit-or-miss, but when it’s good it’s golden. Although most of the vendors focus on home goods and furniture, there are always some racks of clothing scattered throughout and plenty of accessories and shoes to dig through.
The best time of year to visit is in the fall; the weird and wonderful aspect of the market comes out in full force as elaborate and fanciful Halloween costumes are brought out. Although the costumes tend to be more expensive, during the rest of the year items can be found priced in the $2-$10 range.
1083 Broadway 11221
11am-8pm Mon-Sat, 1pm-7pm Sun
6. Myrtle Thrift Store Vintage
This ambitious little thrift store may not have full-to-bursting racks, or an endless supply of shoes, but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality. The selection seems to be geared toward the young and artistic, with unique statement pieces peppering the selection of trendy and brand-name items. Whether you’re looking for a unique conversational piece, or more of a classic vibe, this store will have something to entice you.
Despite occasional clothing piles of new items, the store and the items are very clean and the staff is very friendly. The selection seems to be fairly unisex, with a minor trend toward feminine styles. This is another store without price tags, items must be brought to the front counter for pricing. While haggling seems to be discouraged, a friendly smile and engaging personality seem to have a positive effect on the prices of items. But whether you snag a discount or not, the prices are very affordable with items averaging in the $3-$10 range.
1468 Myrtle Ave 11237
11am-7pm Mon-Fri, 10am-7pm Sat, 10am-6pm Sun
7. Blessed Buy Basement Thrift
This massive basement warehouse is not for the faint of heart. Looming piles of clothing on tables and long racks stuffed to capacity make up most of the organization. Be forewarned: it does not seem that any of the items are cleaned before being sold. While it more closely resembles a garage sale than a thrift store, many hidden gems can be found for those brave enough to dig.
What it lacks in cleanliness and organization, however, it makes up for in quantity and price. Masculine and femanine sections are both well stocked, almost to overflowing! The selection tends to focus on fall and winter items, but at these prices we’re willing to buy up ahead of time. Many items are as low as $6. Dramatic retro and vintage gowns begging to be the centerpiece of a drag show are listed for as low as $15. Textiles are available for as low as $1-$2.
452 Wyckoff Ave 11237
Cover image courtesy of @the.julia.sage.
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