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Achieve Closure

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If, as Gay Talese suggested, New York is a city of things unnoticed, then Tender Buttons is its chest full of hidden treasure. Since 1968, the narrow store (143 East 62nd Street, near Lexington Avenue; 212-758-7004) has catered to designers, decorators, and detail-oriented plebeians with a button collection that numbers, according to co-founder Millicent Safro, in “the many millions or billions.” Ranging from Lucite to leather, Safro’s buttons have adorned everything from Betsey Johnson frocks to Jack Nicholson’s Joker costume. The store’s inventory also includes such rarities as buttons made for George Washington’s inauguration (known to fetch $17,000 at auction). On a more practical—and affordable—note, “we have one of the largest collections of men’s blazer buttons available,” says Safro. So no matter how deep your pockets, chances are you’ll find something to keep them closed.


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