A New Spot for A Familiar Second-Hand Shop

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Reminiscence has relocated - back to its former home - and is still offering divine duds at cheap prices

By Laura Shanahan

"I didn't know this store was still here!" One shopper exclaimed to an acquaintance she ran into at Reminiscence, at 74 Fifth Ave., 'twixt 13th and 14th.

"Well, actually," I interjected, eager to show off my newfound knowledge, "they relocated elsewhere for years and now?" ? I'll let Reminiscence's manager Joan tell it, as she happily put it to me: "We're back!"

Yes, bigger, brighter and better than ever ? but first, the odyssey, as Joan outlined it, and what a long strange (in a good way) trip it's been. Reminiscence debuted on MacDougal Street in ? wait for it, kids ? 1975. In 1985, it moved to its current Village address, where it held court until 1999, when it moved slightly north to Chelsea, at 50 W. 23rd, where it remained until about five minutes ago.

If you're familiar with the tightly packed Chelsea location, you are going to love this bright, sleek-lined modern new space. The goods, fortuitously, remain as ever: a marvelous mélange of often one-of-a-kind vintage fashions, (and some store-label new stuff), and irreverent, clever, gotta-have-it novelty items. Prices also remain, as always, extraordinarily reasonable.

Can you do better than a bridal gown for $48? No, you cannot, and you can use this strapless white full-length gown for whatever other purpose you wish, too, of course. It's a wondrous confection of organdy and satin, embellished with fabric roses and bows and sequins and lace. And, yes, it's in excellent condition.

Too dressy for you? OK, how about a swell summer skirt featuring an all-over print of comically lighthearted mustachioed chefs in differently colored outfits hoisting such chef-ly items as a happily smiling fish (or am I anthropomorphizing?). Just the thing to wear to an outdoor barbecue, no? And should you eat too much, not to worry: The adjustable wrap-around style makes this colorful garment very forgiving; just $15. (By the way, no brand-label on these two items, or I'd cite them ? not that we care about such things, especially when items are wonderful, whimsical and well-priced.)

Men have equally interesting pickings ? everything from an After Six black velvet-and-satin-collar formal black jacket with a tiny white dotted pattern ($28) to classic Levi blue jeans ($24). A selection of camouflage cargo pants comes loaded with pockets, fore and aft, from Woodland and, well, name the army: American, German, Austrian; your choice, $30.

Of course either sex can wear the above cargos ? as well as this natty military look jacket, just the thing for a still-chilly spring day: a charcoal gray close-fitting tailored wool-felt number with a neat notched collar, epaulets and four flap-pockets along with two more button-down ones secreted inside the satin lining; $36.

Now for the wacko stuff. Why just have a regular old key chain, when you can have one with a handy LED that you activate by gently squeezing a dangling Buddha figurine.

"Enlighten your way," urges the item's display, which notes that maker Divinity Innovations will donate 10 percent of profits to environment-protection charities; $5. Let's move briskly past the tempting temp tats (26 for $8) to the piece de resistance: the wallet which looks and feels like a totally traditional one, except it's imprinted to appear to be made entirely of strips of?bacon; $12.

Ah, yes, America's obsession with porky products. As long as it's pretend, count me in.

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