Housing Works Buy the Bag
159 28th St.
The thirteenth Housing Works location opening in New York City was spurred out of informal by-the-bag sales from the nonprofit’s distribution center in Long Island City. The practice gained such an intense following, garnering visitors from all over the city and as far as Pennsylvania, that the nonprofit decided to launch a retail shop on the same concept. The items in the Brooklyn warehouse are mixed in giant bins roughly divided into clothing, shoes, handbags, and coats—a return to the rummaging of “old-school” thrifting. Pieces are not individually priced; instead, customers purchase an oversize shopping bag for $25 dollars each and fill it with their finds—the only rule is that it has to close. It may sound daunting, but the payoff is high: A recent visit turned up labels such as Ann Taylor, Prada, Geoffrey Beene, J.Crew, DKNY, and Armani Exchange. Located in the family-oriented neighborhood of Bay Ridge, the shop often gets repeat customers who befriend and help each other, and employees love to regale stories of legendary finds (a man who bought five suits for $50 dollars! A woman who found a Chanel jacket!) as inspiration. Half of the product is flipped daily, so even frequent visitors will find new treats.