Free Store – Load up on stuff and karma!


One summer I lived in Hana, Maui.  I hitch hiked to work where I waited tables with Aunties – old Hawaiian grandmothers. On a day off I went to Red Sand Beach. Although it was “prohibited” because it bordered a traditional burial ground, you could always count on some haole wind kisser being there, under the influence of something, playing with stones or shells, usually without clothes.  At least, that is how I met Victoria.  She was living in a tent about a mile away on a different beach and talked about her attempt at living in a moneyless economy.

I hadn’t thought about her in years until I heard about the Free Store (99 Nassau Street between Fulton and Ann).  You should check it out because its exciting that the modern barter and exchange movement has escaped from beatnik living rooms and rural Greek markets to a commercial space in Manhattan. The pop-up shop is slated for a month run and will close on March 22nd.  Somewhere, Victoria is shouting joyously into her shoe.

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Oliver Hartman - Resident Bargain Whorespondent

Oliver was born in 1983, the year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac. He grew up in Whitefield, Maine, but since college has lived in Boston, Maui, Switzerland, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Nicaragua, and New York making his bread as a waiter, cocktail boy, camp counselor, writer, english teacher, tennis instructor, guide, model, and design agency jackass.

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