Best Thrift Stores in NYC to Uncover Hidden Gems

Thrifting shopping in NYC can be some of the most exciting thrift adventures of your life.

I speak from personal experience. I lived in New York City from 2008 – 2023 and have successfully discovered and shopped the best thrift stores in NYC offering affordable deals and potentially lucrative secondhand treasures.

Personal plug: I also run the city’s only Ultimate Secondhand Shopping Experience. You can participate with other thrifters on a guided marathon shopping day, or book a private shopping and fully customized experience. Click here for more information and if you have questions, to contact me if interested. Plus: Can’t make an in person experience? You can grab my 25-page PDF self-guided NYC secondhand shopping eBook by clicking here. 

The truth is that thrift shopping in NYC is not what is used to be. I know, I know! I sound like an old bitter thrifter who reminisces about “the better days.” But the truth is that there are less affordably priced true thrift stores in NYC than there used to be.

That’s why I’m keeping this article updated as often as I can with thrift stores in NYC that are stocked with the best and most affordable secondhand clothing, vintage fashion and pre-owned pieces which actually work for your budget.

Of course, vintage stores, consignment shops and vintage fashion collectives and markets are wonderful shopping destinations in New York City. But, this article is about the places you go to get a true thrift shopping deal – and not a steal of the money from your wallet.

Read on for my tried and true “locals list” of the spots I go to when I need to get my thrift shopping itch scratched in the city that never sleeps (and loves to thrift!): The Big Apple.

Salvation Army – (multiple locations)

Location I recommend: 536 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036 (between 10th and 11th Avenues)

Corporate Site: https://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/greater-new-york/

Other locations: https://satruck.org/dropoff

Open: Monday – Saturday (not open Sunday) from 10am – 7pm 

Price expectations: $5 – $20 average, with the occasional overpriced garment at $20+

The environment: This store hasn’t been renovated since …. When it first opened? Honestly I have no idea. Expect a dirty, dusty thrifting environment, sort of like “back in the day” before thrifting became popular. No mirrors, no fitting rooms, but plenty of finds. This is a true treasure-hunting environment. 

How to enter: When you are walking down 46th toward the location, you will see big red doors. This location looks like an old firehouse. The door to enter the store is before the red doors. It’s a glass door into a lobby where there is an elevator. Take the elevator to the 4th floor for clothing or 3rd floor for furniture. 

Be on the lookout for: The “new” racks that are brought out in the morning. You will always discover the best finds on the new racks, the fastest. This store has “50 percent off everything” days on specific holidays, such as Memorial Day, President’s Day, Labor Day, and more. The store usually promotes with a sign at the store in the week leading up the holiday.Every few days they change the “50 percent off this color tag” sign. Find that sign at the front of the store. 

My best finds: Too many to list! Here’s a video on Instagram that shows one of my favorite vintage finds, a JCPenny rainbow vintage caftan. My friend Shana of Thrifters Anonymous actually found it first! 

Fun facts: This location has been a secondhand store since at least the early ‘70s. I know this from attendees of my NYC secondhand shopping tour who grew up in NYC – and remember! 

Plus: This location has an excellent secondhand furniture and home goods department on the 3rd floor. 

OK, so we’re starting with the basics. The thrift basics.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the cheapest thrift stores in America are typically charity-infused chains.

In NYC, we have Goodwill and Salvation Army (although I argue Goodwill isn’t a charity store but that’s an argument for another day). Don’t expect to find charity chains like Desert Industries and St. Vincent. We also don’t have Savers (which is technically for-profit) unless you visit Long Island. 

What do we have? My favorite Salvation Army in the entire city, located on W 46th between 10th and 11th Avenues. This is a far walk from Times Square but the walk is worth it for the potential scores you can find at this well-sized store that restocks daily with donations from New Yorkers across Manhattan. 

The Salvation Army stores in New York City have increased their prices, just like most charity stores around the country. But there are still gems to be found at these stores and yes the gems are inexpensive  (but be prepared for some sticker shock along the way).

Come prepared to try on in the aisles and to fight over the few mirrors in the store.

The Salvation Army at W 46th is at the end of the planet. At least this is how I used to joke about it when I would walk tourists from 8th Avenue. If you aren’t used to walking, be prepared. It literally feels like you are walking to New Jersey (and you can see it in the skyline, across the Hudson River). 

The Salvation Army entrance is a door before the big red doors. Enter and take the elevator to the fourth floor for clothing. 

This Salvation Army is legendary in the resale community and unfortunately I am contributing to “exposing it” just as others have before me. What once was a secret is no longer so. But, as the hub of donations for most of Manhattan, it still gets the “good stuff.” Come early in the morning on a week day and your chances of grabbing a goody or two are higher than say, 4pm on Saturday.

This Salvation Army no longer honors the “everything but one color is half off” Family Day Wednesday (I miss those days). Instead, go to the cash register to see “what colors are half off for the day.” Usually at least two. 

Why I love this Salvation Army: They often bring out new inventory. They host half off everything on random holidays (4th of July, Memorial Day, Presidents Day, etc.) And the staff is very friendly and loving. Also, the Salvation Army literally benefits a shelter nearby. This is important to me. I know where my money is going. And I don’t mind spending plenty of it here! 

Goodwill – (multiple locations)

Location I recommend: 103 W 25th St, New York, NY 10001

Corporate Site: https://goodwillnynj.org/

Other locations in NYC:  https://locations.goodwillnynj.org/?q=New%20York,%20NY%2010035,%20USA

When open: Monday – Sunday from 10am – 7pm. They tend to kick you out at 6:45 just as an FYI

Price expectations:

How to enter: If you walk quickly you might miss this location. 

The environment: Recently renovated, clean and organized. The front of the store is a “Goodwill boutique,” meaning pieces are individually priced. The middle and to the back of the store are the good ole’ fashion Goodwill finds priced according to category. There are no fitting rooms here, but plenty of mirrors. 

Be on the lookout for: Goodwill pulls out “new racks” which always have the good stuff. Also, don’t skip the Goodwill boutique. While items are priced higher than you’d want them to be there are still some great affordably priced finds here. 

My best finds: Recently I scored a rainbow striped Katherine Ogust for Penthouse Gallery dress for less than $30. 

Fun facts: Goodwill was originally a Methodist organization (JUST like Salvation Army!)

Plus: I love the basics here like tees, sweaters and tank tops. Get your basics here for $5, give or take a buck. It’s the best bargain in town, besides the $1.50 slice pizza spot you’ll find next store (which I also recommend). 

My favorite, favorite Goodwill in all of Manhattan is at W 25th Street. 

Now, the Goodwill is easy to find. It’s actually next to one of my favorite former dollar pizza places (now $1.50, I mean whose counting). 

The Goodwill has a “boutique” in the front with individually priced items. The good stuff is in the back, where items are priced by “category” such as shirt, pants, dress, etc. Always price check here, however. Sometimes they think a shirt is a jacket, so instead of being $8.99 it’s $14.99. 

Check behind the counter at this Goodwill – there can be some good stuff there, too. 

Crossroads Trading – (multiple locations)

Corporate Site: https://crossroadstrading.com/

Location I recommend: 24 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001

Other locations:

  • 47 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011
  • 122 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
  • 135 N 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

When open: Monday – Sunday, 11am – 8pm 

Price expectations: $10 (with half off items) to $100s+ for very special designer items. Average prices $25-$50 per item with tons of NWT (new-with-tags) items sold at these prices. 

How to enter: Entrances are typically easy to find. These stores are well-branded and marked with wonderful window displays. 

The environment: This is a beautifully merchandised store. Store associates take time to organize daily, with the location of certain categories of items changing weekly to help give the store fresh energy. Higher quality items / designer items are typically put on display behind the register and also in glass cases positioned throughout the store. Garments are organized by size and category type. There is a men’s and a women’s section. 

Be on the lookout for: The half off stickers. Yes –  half off! Whatever the price on the tag is 50 percent off. These deals can sometimes beat Goodwill and Salvation Army prices. 

My best finds: Where to begin? I find designer, vintage, modern and handmade at Crossroads for my personal collection and also, for resale. I am constantly scouring the racks here to see what treasures I can find for clients and for myself. With prices 

Fun facts: This is a buy-sell-trade store. Bring your goods to sell here, and you get 30 percent cash or 50 percent credit of their determined resale value. My hack? I bring items to sell – get the credit- and use it toward items in the store thereby creating an entirely circular wardrobe where I spend “zero dollars” to infuse new fashion into my life. Cha-ching, score! 

Plus: The store will put your items “on hold” until the end of day. So, if you buy something a little bulkier and don’t want to carry it to the next store, or if you’re just “deciding,” you have some wiggle room thanks to the flexibility of the store. I love this feature about Crossroads and it has served me so well over the years. 

This California-based corporate buy-sell-trade store may not have the best reputation elsewhere in the country (or so I’ve heard from fellow thrifters) but all of that changes once you get to New York City.

NYC is the fashion capital of the world. Period. End of story. Fight me in the comments. 

As a buy-sell-trade store, fashionable NYers – who are often stylists, socialite wannabes, influencers / influencer wannabes, industry type people aka designers or curators or marketing execs – sell their pieces to Crossroads for cash or credit. Oftentimes these fashionable NYers are getting things FOR FREE based on their lifestyles. So, they sell it. Not because they don’t “want it” but because they can make cash or credit selling it and getting something they REALLY want from Crossroads (or just putting the cash in their pockets). 

So the benefit YOU get is access to really dope stuff that is often current style and often new with tags. Seriously. 

Crossroads prides themselves on selling the trends and current styles for ¼ – ⅓ of the original price. Trust me – I’ve fact checked this using Google lens. Something that is $35 in the store was probably around $120 original. Amazing savings. 

$35 seem like too much for a secondhand item, even if it IS from recent season / this season and NWT? Have no fear. Crossroads in NYC often have half-off tags on inventory that hasn’t moved. That brings prices down as low as $8 – which is quite literally less than stores like Goodwill, giving this chain major thrifting and affordable inventory credibility. 

The other best part? You can walk into the store and sell your closet for 50 percent credit or 30 percent cash of their determined resale value. Given to you – on the spot – and without having to declare it “to Uncle Sam.” I love selling my unsold inventory here and then using credit to purchase items I know I can actually sell. 

There are four Crossroads Trading locations in NYC and while someone will probably fight me in the comments about “what is the best one,” I think they are all absolutely stellar. 

Plus: Each Crossroads Trading has multiple fitting rooms and a 7 day return policy for credit. Cha-ching.

Buffalo Exchange – (multiple locations)

Corporate site: https://buffaloexchange.com/

Location I recommend: 114 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001

Other locations:

  • 332 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003
  • 714 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
  • 109 Boerum Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • 504 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

When open: 11am – 8pm EST

Price expectations: With their great 25-50 percent off deals, prices start as low as $6 and hover up to $30 average per piece, with plenty in the $15-$25 range and select designer, vintage and epic pieces at $50-$150 mark. I like to tell my clients that $100 goes far at Buffalo Exchange! 

How to enter: Most of the Buffalo Exchanges are clearly marked, however the location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is slightly hidden. 

The environment: Colorful, fun, inclusive! This is the type of secondhand store that really wants you to celebrate your personal style and dig for treasures. The stores are always organized but  naturally with high-foot traffic, items get mixed around. However, the store is fairly organized by size and also, styles. There is typically a vintage-only section and a 25-50 percent off section. 

Be on the lookout for: Shoes! I absolutely adore the stores’ shoe selection because it is in “one area” and organized by size. I’ve often found never worn shoes here – including epic Coach lace up booties that served me for years! 

My best finds: Where do I begin? I think my favorite most recent find was a Spice Girls t-shirt for about $15. Who doesn’t love Spice Girls?! 

Fun facts: Buffalo Exchange as a chain was founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 1974!!! Today, there are more than 85 stores nationwide. Visit their site to find a store near you, typically in major cities. 

Plus: Every April for Earth Day, the chain has a $1 per item sidewalk sale at select stores. The line is always bonkers but I love that the chain does this to create community and awareness around Earth Day. 

 

 

Another buy-sell-trade store that in another city might be a “so-so” location, but in NYC, is bound to be full of designer, vintage and normally expensive AF treasures. 

Buffalo Exchange was founded in 1974 by a Swedish woman who named the store “Buffalo Exchange” because the Buffalo animal was “so American” to her at the time. 

The chain has nearly 80 locations around the US and 5 stores alone in NYC.

I recommend all of the Buffalo Exchanges although unlike Crossroads, they are varying sizes. The largest location is on W 26th and I would argue the smallest is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

Buffalo does a great job of offering equal amounts of guy and girl inventory (but what is gender these days, anyway). They also traditionally have a “vintage” section and like buying vintage over Crossroads, so you’re more likely to find a 1960s house dress at Buffalo. 

Buffalo carries a small amount of NEW inventory that they purchase to complement their secondhand stock. 

These pieces are pretty obvious since they have multiples in various sizes. 

While I have no stats to prove such facts other than hours upon hours of combing the racks at the shops in NYC, my gut tells me that Buffalo Exchange tends to price its items about 15 percent less than Crossroads Trading.

This means that if you find the exact same item at both stores, Buffalo’s item would be less expensive. Again. Just a theory and it might still be case by case basis. 

However, I come to Buffalo to get a ton of fast fashion staples for anywhere from $5 – $15, plus designer and vintage finds normally for less than $40. Both Buffalo and Crossroads have the same business money with creating visual merchandising about their “nicer” items behind the counters and along the ceiling. But again, these items are marked so affordably that you can’t really fight them. I mean, authentic Gucci slides for $200?! Come on. 

What I can’t confirm at either Crossroads or Buffalo is whether they  use authentication software for designer bags, jewelry or any other accessories they receive. Next on my list (plot spoiler) is Second Street Consignment, which definitely does use a software named Entrupy. So words of wisdom is to ask employees if they have proof of authentication so that you can make your decision based on what is most comfortable for you and your pocket strings.

2nd Street – (multiple locations)

Corporate site: https://2ndstreetusa.com/

Location I recommend: 142 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001

Other locations: 

  • 1282 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021
  • 180 Orchard St Retail C, New York, NY 10002
  • 712 Broadway 1st floor, New York, NY 10003
  • 27 Howard St, New York, NY 10013
  • 110 University Pl, New York, NY 10003
  • 70 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

When open: 11am – 8pm, Monday – Sunday

Price expectations: I love this store because it welcomes everyone with its “high to low inventory.” What do I mean by that? The low inventory are the classic thrift store finds at $8, $9, $12, $15. Then there are mid priced finds at anywhere from $18-$30. And then, there are more coveted items that are worth the price, but might be a little bit out of your budget. Think Rick Owens, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Gucci (hundreds of dollars) as well as items priced anywhere from $50-$150 that are quality brands for less. My point with all of this? There is something for everyone, and you can walk out with a $5 tee as well as a $500 bag. The choice is yours! 

How to enter: I love 2nd Street for its amazing window displays that are always changing and full of items you might want to check out! The store does have security when you enter, so you’ll want to check in any large bags and receive a number from the security representative. 

The environment: While I love the layout of the store, the locations in NYC tend to have just a handful of fitting rooms. This can create long lines, so I suggest trying things over your clothing in the aisle when possible. Thankfully, there are plenty of mirrors! 

Due to the value of many items, the security guard is pretty strict with checking items but don’t let that intimidate you. The staff is friendly and available to help with any questions you have and items you want to look at, especially if they’re behind the counter or glass case. 

My best finds: My best find was something I actually gave to one of my secondhand shopping clients. I grabbed her Mark Cross NWT (the price tag was INSIDE the leather handbag) marked for just $35 at 2nd Street. The original price tag was $500 plus. To say she was happy was an understatement! 

Fun facts: 2nd Street was founded in Japan! Visiting Tokyo or beyond? Definitely look up Second Street for a location near you. 

Plus: 2nd Street has its very own app with items for sale from all stores across Japan and the nation – which is now hovering at close to 35 stores around the country! Also, don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter at the cash register for 10 percent of your first purchase (which can really pay off, especially if you’re buying a higher ticket item!)

 

According to their website, “2nd STREET began in Japan in 1996 with over 700 locations in Japan. In 2018, our first US store opened on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.” 

Enter 2020: I was leading a secondhand shopping tour shortly after stores had opened post pandemic lock down. I noticed that a store called “2nd Street” was opening on West 26th Street in Manhattan. “Huh,” I thought to myself. “I guess they got a really good pandemic rent deal!”

Chances are they did, but this wasn’t a “one off store” — at all! This was a chain coming from Japan to create a presence in the United States, and they were not going to tiptoe around their vision. 

Since 2020, 2nd Street has opened nearly 35 locations in the United States from California to Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Illinois, and of course — New York City. In the Big Apple they have six locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn!

2nd Street is where you can go find that wish-list luxury bag for far less than the MSRP and often, what the typical reseller online would sell it for. The stores cater to a designer buying and selling crowd but any frugal, penny pinching thrifter can find great deals here! Head to “the back” of all 2nd Street stores to find the $5, $7, $9, $11, $15 finds! Sometimes a true gem is marked lower than the price you would expect (I know this from personal experience). 

A downside of the 2nd Street culture is that they don’t remove items with flaws / stains from the floor (or at least so I’ve noticed). So definitely check the inventory to make sure it fits your quality standards. 

If you are a designer clothing and luxe-for-less lover I suggest not only visiting the 2nd Street location I recommend above, but all of the 2nd Street locations in New York City and beyond. Dressing in designer clothing for less was never easier! 

Find more of the 2nd Street locations around the United States by clicking here

The Chelsea Flea

Market site: https://www.chelseaflea.com/

Location: 29 West 25th St. (btw. 5th + 6th Ave.)

When open: Every Saturday + Sunday, 8am–4pm, Year-Round

Price expectations: While this market is definitely an authentic “flea” market, there are still going to be some NY prices. This is because every vendor is different, with some offering curated designer and vintage pieces at retail price points while others have piles of clothes on the ground for you to pick through and grab pieces at $5 – $10 each. What is consistent? The negotiation tactics and bargaining you can implement if you really, really want a find. Overall prices range from $5 – $500, with the sweet spot somewhere between $30-$100 for all vendors, categories of items for sales, and quality of items of sales combined. 

 

How to enter: There are two ways to enter the Chelsea Market, which is technically a parking lot during the week! There is an easy entrance on 26th street right next to the Crossroad I recommend. Or, enter on 25th and you can’t miss the market with its massive white tents. The environment: This is an outdoors only, open-air, dog friendly, rain or shine flea market! Yes, it is 100 percent legit and on a busier day is bustling with 50-60 vintage and antiques vendors. This is a market where you can stroll and window shop or get down and dirty by searching for your next jewelry treasure amongst piles of pre-owned gems. The Chelsea Flea is great for people watching and will always satisfy a newbies curiosity for NYC! Be on the lookout for: There are a few vendors who love to throw their goods on a table and let you do some digging! These are my favorites, because I love the thrill of the hunt. These are also the vendors who you’ll have to ask “how much?” and upon hearing their response, proceed to negotiate. Always bring cash – it has power! My best finds: I found a mesh chain antique “card” bag for less than $30! It was the cutest thing. I went on to sell it, but alas, the thrill of the hunt had me so excited! Fun facts: The Chelsea Flea is now owned by the Brooklyn Flea enterprise, but was originally founded in 1976! Plus: Don’t forget to visit every single weekend because new vendors come and go as the regulars take a break! Plus, you are welcome to apply and become a vendor at the Chelsea Flea.
The Chelsea Flea is a historic institution in Manhattan. Located in a vacant lot on the weekend that is normally a parking lot during the week, the Chelsea Flea is where vendors of all backgrounds come together with the shared intention: to offer local New Yorkers with a genuine “flea” market experience of tents, tables, haggling and random but always-necessary-finds. In all seriousness: While there are “other” markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Chelsea Flea remains the  most authentic of all thanks to its “throw it all on the table” environment. Here you’ll find regular veteran vendors to newbies. You can shop by digging in piles or curated racks and display cases.The market feels like an open air experience that you would find buried in the streets of a European town. You never know what you’re going to find or who you’re going to meet.

I love visiting the Chelsea Flea for its jewelry finds. There is often a vendor who sells sterling silver by the pound, as well as another jewelry vendor with personality just as shiny as her finds (which she happily negotiates based on how much you buy). 

When the weather is perfect without a sign of rain, the market is packed with vendors. You can see the white tent tops from blocks away (well, if there weren’t any buildings blocking the view, that is). 

If the weather is predicted to be potentially rainy or messy, that doesn’t mean the market is “closed.” What typically happens is only a few vendors show up. 

Shout out to the Brooklyn Flea for taking on ownership of the Chelsea Flea a few years ago. Their ownership has rejuvenated life into this history-making event that embodies the essence of New York treasure hunting and flea-ing shopping.

AUH20

Site: https://www.auh2oshop.com/

Location: 84 E. 7th Street

When open: 12 – 7pm, Monday – Sunday 

Price expectations: Expect … low! This store specializes in $5 finds to hardly ever beyond $50 finds. Truly one of the most affordably priced and longest running second hand stores in the East Village. 

How to enter: You’ll find the inviting window and awning of AUH20 in plain sight! There is usually a sandwich board on the sidewalk as well. 

The environment: If the store is busy, prepare to be a little cramped. It’s a small but mighty location. More than 6 people at a time and it’s almost impossible to get a spot on the rack. But, store associates and owners are there to support and of course welcome you to wait your turn to see what goodies are in store for you. 

Be on the lookout for: Jewelry. I love AUH20 for its upcycled jewelry pieces. The store makes them as well as they buy from other designers. 

Fun facts: The store owner’s last name is Goldwater and so AUH20 is a combination of her last name in periodic table elements, meaning AU = gold and H20 = water. 

Plus: By supporting AUH20, you know that you are supporting a small business with an owner and a handful of employees. The other stores on this list are a mix of corporate and privately owned. 

This East Village boutique should win a “Saint of the city” award, and not just because I know the owner Kate Goldwater and was once cast for a reality TV show called THRIFT WARS with her (a story for another blog post). 

Kate started AUH20 after graduating from NYU university. The East Village “thrift-tique” has been an affordable – if not BEYOND CHEAP – outpost of secondhand shopping since opening its doors in 2006. 

The store is so small that only 5-6 people can fit in at a time, but the inventory is constantly changing because it’s priced to move. No crazy outrageous mark up here! This is a youth-driven boutique with fashions curated for the trends and the even trendier 20-30 somethings who pop into the store. 

If you shop in the area around AUH20 you will also encounter many other beautifully curated and designed secondhand shops, but nothing compares in price and history to AUH20.

P.s. AUH20 are the periodic elements of “water” and “gold” which is Kate’s last name. Pure. Secondhand. Genius.

Beacon’s Closet – (multiple locations)

Location I recommend: This is the largest of the Beacon’s Closets, so I recommend  74 Guernsey St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Website: https://beaconscloset.com/

Other locations: 

  • Manhattan:  10 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011
  • Bushwick: 23 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY 11206
  • Park Slope: 92 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

When open: 11am – 8pm everyday 

Price expectations: The prices of this NYC-based buy/sell/trade chain have increased over the years, with average prices hovering around $30 – $45 per piece. But, because this chain is SO vintage focused, the cost per item is well worth it for the curation, quality and exceptional access to so many great vintage and designer finds in one place. 

The environment: Urban, trendy, young, vibrant and absolutely packed. Most locations are unusually busy (everyone just loves it here 24/7). Don’t bring a big bag / backpack so you can have more space to move. Plus: the racks are organized by color, and not size. Happy rainbow shopping! 

Be on the lookout for: Hands down, Beacon’s is the best secondhand store chain in NYC for affordable vintage from as early as the turn of the century (no joke). On average you’ll find pieces from the 1940s – 1990s here from $20 – $70 on average per piece. 

My best finds: Where do I begin?! To avoid writing a list as long as my arm, I’ll just say that Beacon’s is where I’m most likely to find pieces for my personal collection and my resale collection. I go here first when shopping! 

Fun facts: This is a New York City only chain – you can’t find it anywhere else! 

Plus: The history of Beacon’s Closet warms my secondhand lovin’ heart. Check out their recap of how the store came to be, starting in a (then) questionable location in Williamsburg in 1997.

I first visited Beacon’s Closet in 2006 when I was interning in NYC for the summer. I remember having heart palpitations because everything felt SO ME and it was AFFORDABLE! I was just 20 years old and oh em gee I could afford to shop for myself, without dragging mom along for the ride. 

Beacon’s Closet was founded in 1999 and today has multiple female owners of the NYC chain’s four distinctly different locations. 

I say “distinctly different” because each store has smartly chosen inventory to suit the geographic area around it. 

If you visit the Manhattan location, you’ll notice that Parson’s school of fashion is immediately next door. This collegiate fashion space influences the inventory of the Manhattan Beacon’s Closet, giving it an edgier, funkier and more fashion-forward selection. Plus: The store is always packed with students, so come early or late to get the most “shopping space.”

The Bushwick locations swings more vintage and professional, which the Greenpoint location carries a ton of designer pieces. Park Slope is the smallest of the stores and targets the family, thrifty clientele of the neighborhood. Prices tend to be less here and inventory changes less frequently than the other stores, simply because foot traffic is less. 

But of course, like all things in marketing and inventory, the stores are constantly evolving to keep up with the times. But a few things to know about shopping all four Beacon’s Closets locations. 

  1. The stores are organized by color – not size. However there is some size organization for pants, but like most secondhand stores, the sizes get out of order easily
  2. You’re going to find a larger selection of vintage at Beacon’s than any other store on this list 
  3. Beacon’s Closet can be very crowded on the weekends! Best to go first thing on the weekday or toward the end of the day over the dinner hour
  4. Prices are slightly higher here than any other store on the list, and rightfully so. The selection is amazing and so prices reflect that. You can still find great $20 – $30 finds, though! 

When I shop with my secondhand tour clients, I try to take them to a Beacon’s Closet near us. It’s a must-see in NYC!

Other People’s Clothes – (multiple locations)

Location I recommend: The Bushwick location, which is  333 Troutman St, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Website: https://www.opcbuyselltrade.com/

Other locations: This location is more neighborhood focused, as it’s not super easy to access from the subway. 885 Woodward Ave, Queens, NY 11385

When open: 333 Troutman is open 11am – 9pm everyday, while TKTK is open 11am – 8pm everyday 

Price expectations: $10 – $40 average, with many pieces hovering around $20 average! 

The environment: Happy, fun, supportive, inclusive! Each location has beautiful murals painted on the walls, giving it a bright, joyful and positive vibe. You truly feel like you “belong” shopping here.

Be on the lookout for: The Bushwick location (the one I recommend) has a “marketplace” section of more high quality, designer focused finds. It’s easy to pop in and out with a quick browse of this section! 

My best finds: A late ‘70s multi colored patchwork leather jacket … this has been a dream find for many years. And I scored it for less than $50!! 

Fun facts: I heard through the grapevine that another location in South Williamsburg is coming soon … stand by for an update to this article for more information on Other People’s Clothes third Brooklyn location! 

Plus: Other People’s Clothes is a buy-sell-trade! Bring your gently used modern, vintage, designer clothes to the store for 30 percent cash, and 50 percent credit of the value they determine per piece. You can drop off your pieces and OPC will text when ready. Eazy Peezy!

I only recently fell in love with Other People’s Clothes – affectionately nicknamed OPC – and honestly I am so glad that this chain exists.

If you have time to visit Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads or Beacon’s Closet – the competing “buy-sell-trade” chains of NYC – you’ll notice they have a completely different clientele than OPC, and this is mostly based on location.

You see, OPC has two locations in very “local” areas of NYC that most tourists don’t visit. But, if you’re reading this article and committed to finding the best and actually affordable thrift stores in NYC, then chances are you’re willing to take the trip to OPC. 

Their first location opened in Ridgewood, which is actually a neighborhood of Queens that you can access by walking over from Brooklyn (doesn’t make sense? Live in NYC for 10 years and you’ll get it). 

The first location is harder to get to than the second, and is an area that doesn’t have a nearby thrift store to visit. 

I recommend heading to the second – and more new – location on TKTK Troutman Street, which is in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

The moment I first stepped into this location I felt such a warm secondhand shopping energy. The store is colorful, brightly lit, and the layout is fantastic. There’s ample men’s clothing and women’s clothing organized by color (and not by size, similar to Beacon’s Closet). Other People’s Closet “pulls” the nicer stuff for a “marketplace” section in the front of this location. 

I’m not sure what marketplace means (maybe the items are sold on commission?! Someone tell me in the comments). But I do like that they pull the nicer pieces and put them on a separate rack. Since the prices are so affordable, it’s easy for me to head straight to that rack and see what’s there without spending extra time digging for a resellable gem. 

Not to say you shouldn’t look at all of the racks of clothing. Vintage, modern and some fast fashion is mixed together. I didn’t see many new-with-tag items here (head to Crossroads for those), and I would say Other People’s Clothing isn’t picking items based on perfection so you might find something with a flaw. However, the price is right here and if you have $50 to spend chances are you’ll grab at least 3 items.

Plus BKLYN

Location: 490 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

When open: 12-8pm every day

Price expectations: Average $40 – $75 per piece 

The environment: Bright, feminine, supportive and inclusive. Plus BKLYN prides itself on being a store that walks its talk.

Be on the lookout for: Gently used 1x – 6x finds, accessories, and plus size vintage! The store is always hunting for size 16+ vintage so that every single body can wear eras of the past easily and affordably. Plus, the store stocks gently used 1x – 6x pieces from plus size influencers who stock the store after they’re done with the pieces. Score! 

Fun facts: Plus BKLYN has an amazing presence on Tik Tok, where the entire staff participates in creating content! With a social media presence like this, you feel connected to the people behind the brand. 

Plus: Word on the street is that Plus BKLYN is opening another location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn! According to the owner and staff, it’ll be SO MUCH bigger. Yeehaw!

In a city as large and inclusive as New York, you would THINK there would be plenty of plus size secondhand shopping options, right? Wrong!! 

That’s why Plus BKLYN – a Brooklyn-based chain of gently used clothing and vintage for sizes 1x – 6x – is so necessary in the landscape of secondhand.

Founder Alexis had a vision for a store that would fit not just some bodies – but EVERY body. She saw a hole in the marketplace of secondhand because she personally experienced it! As a plus size woman herself, she shared with me that shopping secondhand in new cities was always a must so that she could “maybe find something she loved in her size.”

I love Plus BKLYN because  not only is it a store of vintage and secondhand, but often of NWT items that fit the average size 12 – 22. Plus, plenty of accessories are available that match the fun, feminine vibes of Plus.

Check the Plus BKLYN instagram account for new pieces that you can grab on their stories or site. And stay tuned for their new, much bigger location coming Spring 2024!

Grab my self-guided routes by neighborhood

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