Shopping at thrift stores is like playing the lottery. It can be extremely rewarding, but more often than not is just very frustrating and disappointing. Oh, look at that awesome shirt! What size is it? Damn, missed it by one number! I could have been style-rich! The odds in the thrift store lottery greatly increase in your favor based on how much there is to go through. And it’s loud as hell in Bushwick (or East Williamsburg, if you believe the hype) because there’s so much volume! Need a winter coat? Spiffy new scarf? A non-flannel botox injection for that wrinkled, saggy wardrobe? Knickerbocker Avenue is the place for you! There are three beyond-worthwhile thriftstores clustered near the Morgan Ave. L train stop ripe for the pickin’ and easy on the wallet kickin’!
Urban Jungle is a “vintage” store with affordable prices, quirky tchotchkes and lots of everything to look through. Good hats, great jackets and pants and shirts and army coats and leather jackets and… jesus, it’s overwhelming. Go when you’ve got lots of time. Double that for Shop The Ops (apparently that is the name of the place even though the giant sign outside says Thames & Bocker) just down the road a piece. If you’re up to your neck in things to look at in Urban Jungle, you’re six feet under in Shop the Ops. Make this your weekend, you still won’t see it all. Shop the Ops seems to have a lot of overstock from stores. There are a lot of clothes with the original tags still on that seem to never have been worn. The also have quinceanera dresses in the corner under the giant american flag.
Going the other way on Knickerbocker from Urban Jungle, on the corner of Flushing Avenue is a store that seems to be called “Vista y Calse a Toda Su Familia Aqui!” or maybe just “Aqui!” (but not “¡Aqui!” for some reason). This place has a similar, if smaller, selection of clothing on its ground floor, but the basement is completely, totally and utterly devoted to shoes. Assloads of shoes. Holy crap, are there a lot of shoes. They’re all $10, which clearly means some are a great deal and others are not so great a deal. But the selection is staggering.
If you’ve got lots of free time and a little money for shopping, this little thicket of thrift in Bushwick can be your wardrobe savior.
120 Knickerbocker Ave. (btwn. Flushing Ave. and Thames St.)
Shop The Ops (a.k.a. Thames & Bocker)
96 Knickerbocker Ave. (at Thames St.)
1081 Flushing Ave. (at Knickerbocker Ave.)
subway: L to Morgan