It’s not as big as the established Beacon’s Closet vintage consignment chain, nor as thrifty as shops on the Lower East Side and in Brooklyn, but Columbia U Consignment is one of the best deals in vintage shopping you can get without having to venture on the L train.
Located at 50 Tiemann Place between Broadway and Claremont, the store is less than a 15-minute walk, or a five-minute subway ride for someone with a monthly unlimited card.
Off the beaten path, you won’t find many bedraggled tourists here—but you will find some great clothes, from fur to factory.
You are going to have to dig through rails and rails and rails, but there are unexpected treats. The fur was not quite as clean as I would have liked to see it, but it still will keep you warm for winter and, unlike the used furs at Upper East Side consignment stores like Michael’s (1041 Madison Ave.), you won’t have to put up with the choice of selling your car or starving yourself.
The shop doesn’t just limit itself to clothes. Vintage records are aplenty and they could be used either in the 20th-century sense, as in for listening to, or adapted for the 21st century into cheap dorm room decoration.
The print dresses and suiting are the best-stocked sections of the store. Both options were reasonably priced and the vintage cuts so on trend. In particular, a green silk Gucci print dress caught my eye—I want it, and it wants to be mine.
Though there are upscale designer finds for those willing to look, other garments cross the line out of consignment and into thrift.
Though basic tank tops were reasonably priced at $5, a savvy consumer would be better off going to Old Navy, JCPenney, or Macy’s, where she’d see the same price for goods that have not been pretreated with sweat.
One thing is for sure: Don’t trust the hours. My attempts to shop were rather futile at first, as I arrived twice at the opening time of 11 to find a gated store. However, as in most things, with perseverance I got what I wanted, and it was delightful.