Family Thrift Shop Proffers One-of-a-Kind Finds


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Unique Boutique, which has Upper East and West Side locations, is packed with fun items By Laura Shanahan It's unique! It's a boutique! It's the ? what else? ? Unique Boutique, a family owned-and-operated thrift store, located for your shopping convenience at 487 Columbus Ave., near 84th Street, and at 1674 Third Ave., near 94th. Talk about opportunities for serendipitous browsing: "We're putting out new things every day," says Zachary Hassan, the exceptionally genial manager of the Columbus Avenue shop. "So come often ? you never know what you'll find." Since everything stocked, from home accessories to clothing, jewelry, books and more, comes from auctions, wholesalers, estate sales and donations from viewers like you ? oops, sorry, I just channeled Channel 13 there for a moment ? almost everything is one-of-a-kind, right? Not "almost everything," Zachary pointed out ? "everything." What about those half-dozen or so identical-looking glasses over there? "They're just one set," Zachary again correctly pointed out. (I would like him even if his somewhat uncommon name wasn't my father's middle moniker and even if we hadn't had great fun noting all the famous Zacharys past and present.) Ah, the donations. If you finished your spring cleaning and would like to divest yourself of your unwanted items, bring 'em on in at either location, and get a tax receipt in return. Now then, here is a representative sampling of what you can expect to find. First ? emit a high-pitched scream if you also love miniatures ? a set of teeny-tiny glass mugs, complete with teeny-tiny handles. They're the kind beer might come in, except these are ? oh, great, the one set of items I didn't measure ? but I'm estimating just under 2-inches high. You can use them as wee shot glasses, or for cordials or perhaps as the new unit of measurement for the legal purchase of soda in the city. (Ho-ho, I actually support anything that may limit obesity and disease ? call me crazy.) Pay just $8.99 for a set of four of these pebble-textured glasses in varying shades of rose and peach. Is it a vase? Is it a very narrow liqueur glass? Pay just $8.99 again for this 8-inch tall very slender plum-colored column of glass, finely etched with a floral pattern ? and it's your call. While the glassware and other small household items are especially intriguing, do not overlook the selection of books; $1 for paperbacks and $2 for hardcover. In the former category, I found such bestsellers as The Lovely Bones and Three Cups of Tea; but there are also more obscure tomes, which make for fascinating rifling. Going from the cerebral to the skimpy, I spotted an almost illegally short stonewashed denim skirt by Tractor in size 10 that (whew!) turned out to be short-shorts trimmed with the most girly eyelet-trimmed pink ruffles; $8.99. A sleeveless white tank in size XL is banded across the chest with blue and purple stripes and reads "Gap Surf"; $2.99. Glam it up with a stretch bracelet of outsize faceted "turquoise" stones for $3. Find lots of blue jeans for either gender, plus a good selection of summery men's shirts. I thought the pallid-yellow cotton short-sleeve Gap shirt was almost too bland and blah until I flipped it around. Elaborately embroidered in black and red was a canoe, of all things, and the words "Est. 1969, Vintage River Canoe Tours, Classic Heritage." Love it. And for $7.99. Like Zachary says, come often. If you don't see something you must have, you're just not looking.





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