Does ten dollars have to mean two Subway foot-longs? A pack of cigarettes?
Hopefully, it can mean more. Last week—armed with just a ten dollar bill and knowledge of the many thrift shops sprinkled around Nyack—I set out to find a prized item while sticking to a tight budget.
And really, there's no better place to look than right here in Nyack—mom and pop stores abound, including three independently-run thrift stores: Grace's Thrift Shop, The National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shop, and the Nyack Hospital Thrift Shop.
I was determined to find the ten dollar holy grail in one of these places—to be able to buy something worthwhile and spend only an Alexander Hamilton.
My first stop in town was Grace's Thrift Shop at 10 South Broadway. I window shopped first (of course), finally gaining my confidence, tucking in my shirt and entering the first stop on my quest. I was immediately impressed by the order and selection of quality clothing. It's a place I fully intend on returning to and searching for the perfect blazer. I was greeted by three lovely women at the counter—Carol Curto, Mercedes Kent and Mimi Gregory—all of whom were happy to talk about the recession, thrift shop clientele and the business' history.
"Business is slower than usual, but not as bad as retail," Gregory said when asked about the economic climate. Grace's has been seeing less customers, she added.
And what of the opluent kids who come in—hoping to find something ironic—and scrounge for clothes that maybe someone less privileged needed?
"It's not a problem," Kent said. "Absolutely not; I think it is great if they can even find something here. We are helping the community with every sale."
Grace's Thrift Shop has been a volunteer organization for almost 50 years, and is also the only consignment thrift store in Nyack. Grace's accepts consignments Tuesdays and Fridays, and donations anytime they are open.
The next stop? The National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shop (NCJW) at 145 Main St. It's a small shop that offers a wide variety: clothes, jewelry, paintings, furniture and various home décor. The manager, however, was not available for a comment—and I struggled to locate the perfect buy.
NCJW accepts donations Thursday, Friday and Saturday only.
Directly across the street at 142 Main Street is the Nyack Hospital Thrift Shop, the largest of all thrift shops in the area. The store boasts separate rooms and sections containing clothes, art, outdoor supplies, music, furniture, jewelry and more.
I was hit by a sudden feeling of nostalgia when entering, and was drawn to the counter where the very helpful and informative manager, Phyllis Darrin, was happy to speak with me.
Darrin has been managing the shop for quite some time and personally helps handle donations every day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Like Grace's Thrift shop, business has been slower than usual—and she isn't bothered by the hipsters who run rampant in the store buying up all the skinny jeans and pea coats.
"I like people, and you have to be a people person to work in this trade," she said.
And a people person she is—Darrin noticed I wasn't wearing a watch, and offered a selection of watches at the counter. I quickly settled on a Timex expedition indiglo 50 meter water resistant timepiece with a leather band (no product placement intended, I swear).
Also: Darrin's thrift shop has a collection of audio cassettes? I love audio cassettes. (Maybe because my Saab 900 SE only takes cassettes... but still cassette tape is superior to CD, in my opinion). Sitting on top of the cassette pile was Nirvana's "In Utero." The funny thing is, I've been listening to Nirvana's "Nevermind" all week. It was time to upgrade, and for fifty cents, there was no better bargain.
So I found not one but two steals—and for just $8.50—to make my ten dollars more worthwhile. And it was a bit didactic, too: I know about the hard work and effort that these volunteers put into these thrift stores. They're helping the community of Nyack daily—and ask for nothing in return.