Where Trash Becomes Scratch

Two JakesPhoto: Danny Kim/New York Magazine

Mid-Century-Modern Furniture

Two Jakes
320 Wythe Ave., at Grand St., Williamsburg; 718-782-7780
Thanks in part to the bedbug epidemic, this expertly assembled furniture depot mostly sources its inventory from going-out-of-­business sales and auctions, not individuals. But if you’ve got a metal or aluminum desk, table, or office chair from the mid-twentieth century, Two Jakes will likely give you a fair price for it—especially if it’s by a big-name designer like Emeco, Knoll, Saarinen, or Bisley. Offers, made by appointment, usually fall between $50 and $500 per piece, or half the planned price tag.

Recent find: Herman Miller Eames compact sofa ($1,200). “It’s an iconic piece of sixties and seventies design that you rarely see out there,” co-owner Alex Walsh says.

Cameras and Video Equipment

B&H Photo-Video-Pro-Audio
420 Ninth Ave., at 34th St. 212-444-5000
Like all the sections in this city-block-encompassing superstore, the secondhand selection is extensive. Photo, video, and professional audio equipment—B&H takes it all. And if you enter the make and model of the item you’d like to sell, bhphotovideo.com will spit out a price quote before you schlep all the way over. A Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi in silver in good condition will get you $145, and a body for a Pentax K110D digital camera will bring $125.

Recent find: A Leica M4 camera ($2,900). “Leicas all have richly deserved cachet, because they’re made with jewel-like precision,” says B&H’s Henry Posner.

Art and Antiques

Waterfront Antiques Consignment
147 Columbia St., nr. Kane St., Cobble Hill 917-805-2968
Along with its solid mix of antique furniture, this new shop has an excellent selection of oil paintings, prints, and ethnic art sold on consignment at a 40 percent commission. Leave your velvet Elvis at home—it’s looking for pieces that can shoulder price tags in the three and four figures. (After 60 days, prices drop 20 percent with the seller’s permission; at 90 days, they drop 50 percent.)

Recent find: Early-twentieth-century Sri Lankan mask ($1,800). “It has eighteen cobras around the head representing illnesses like malaria; they’d put sick people in them to cure them,” owner Anne Marie Biebuyck says.

Vintage Décor

Le Grenier
19 Greenpoint Ave., at West St., Greenpoint; 718-569-0111
This tiny riverfront store, owned by former fashion-photo producer Maya Marzolf, buys, sells, and occasionally consigns furniture, etched stemware, steamer trunks, oil lamps, and other home accents. Marzolf doesn’t limit her inventory to a particular era, instead choosing pieces that fit the slouchy-cool look of her showroom—she’s made offers on everything from legitimate antiques (currently an intricate side table from the nineteen-aughts is priced at $500) to more modern pieces (a small vinyl rocking chair is marked $120). E-mail info@legrenierny.com to schedule an appointment.

Recent find: Japanese Seyei gold-plated china set ($950). “It’s super-fabulous, and there’s not a single chip,” Marzolf says.


Monk’s Trunk
23 Hawthorne St., nr. Flatbush Ave., Prospect Lefferts Gardens; 718-398-9324
While most kids’ consignment shops will only give you store credit for used toys, recently opened Monk’s Trunk doles out actual cash. Monk’s buys higher-end toys and gear outright at 25 percent of the retail price or allows you to consign them (along with lower-end toys) with a payout of 25 to 60 percent of the selling price. Especially in-demand items include ride-on toys, hardcover books, and anything by the brands Plan Toys, Haba, Pintoy, Green Toys, and Automoblox.

Recent find: A Go-Go Babyz Travelmate car-seat attachment ($50). “They’re crazy-popular and so hard to come by used,” owner Carrie McLaren says.

CDs and LPs

Academy Record Annex
96 N. 6th St., nr. Wythe Ave., Williamsburg; 718-218-8200
A spinoff of Chelsea’s 34-year-old music specialist, this secondhand and new CD and LP store buys back both kinds of discs of the pop, rock, soul, jazz, reggae, disco, and hip-hop persuasion. (Translation: no classical, no big band, no easy listening.) Obviously, the rarest and most in-demand merchandise rakes in higher bucks, but unscratched CDs and vinyl can fetch between $1 and $7.

Recent find:Street and Gangland Rhythms record ($100). “A record of sounds and beats that predates what we think of as hip-hop and urban rap,” owner Mike Davis says.

Baby Stuff

Flying Squirrel
96 N. 6th St., nr. Wythe Ave., Williamsburg; 718-218-7775
Given the city’s space constraints, consignment stores that welcome large-scale items like cribs, pack ’n’ plays, and rockers are few and far between. But this charming kids’ store, which sells both new and secondhand clothing and gear, offers both outright purchase and consignment of cumbersome baby items like tubs, carriers, and high chairs from 25 to 50 percent in cash or store credit. Call to make an appointment.

Recent find: Kids on the Roof mobile home ($16). “It’s a piece of cardboard that you can make into a house,” says owner Kate Schmitz. “They’re really trendy and usually hard to find.”

Bob and Judi's CoolectiblesPhoto: Danny Kim/New York Magazine

Music Gear

Rogue Music
220 W. 30th St., nr. Seventh Ave. 212-629-5073
Rogue is well-known for its vintage guitars and keyboards, but the store will take instruments and recording equipment of all sorts—even well-worn items, assuming its in-house repairmen can fix them up. Because the price tags are low, turnover is high: It accepts about 40 new instruments per month, some of which are bought outright and others sold on a consignment plan, with commission fees ranging from 10 to 25 percent. A Fender Stratocaster guitar, for example, is priced at $395, with the original owner getting a 75 percent initial payout.

Recent find: Circa 1971 Fender Rhodes Mark 1 Stage piano ($1,195). “You don’t see a lot of electric pianos from that era,” says sales manager Clay Chalem.

Vintage Glassware and Collectibles

Bob and Judi’s Coolectibles
217 Fifth Ave., nr. Union St., Park Slope; 718-638-5770
Unleash your inner 40-Year-Old Virgin on this Park Slope institution by off-loading your stash of old toys, costume jewelry, small furniture, vintage signs, glassware, or other offbeat knickknacks. While most of the stock is from the sixties or earlier, there are exceptions for certain hot eighties items (Smurf dolls!). Payment is typically 35 to 50 percent of the eventual sales price. Nesting bowls, for example, usually go for about $30; glassware, $20 to $35 for a set; cocktail shakers, $20.

Recent find: Vintage shoot-’em-up pinball game ($125). “The precursor to modern pinball, it has really interesting graphics,” says co-owner Judi Pheiffer.

Books, DVDs, and Games

Bookoff U.S.A.
49 W. 45th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-685-1410
For all its greatness, the Strand comes up short in one respect: It won’t buy back your best sellers. But BookOff, which is a largely Japanese used-­media store, will take those Dan Brown and John Grisham novels off your hands—as well as your DVDs and undamaged video games (as long as they’re not scratched or obvious bootlegs). Paperbacks dependably trade for about 50 cents, hardbacks for $1.50. And while you’re there, check out the dizzyingly vast Japanese manga section.

Recent find: A Sony PS3 console ($244). “They go fast,” says sales ­associate Hitomi Saiki.

High-End Sneakers

Flight Club New York
254 Greene St., nr. Waverly Pl.888-937-8020, ext. 405
This sports-apparel consignment shop sells brands like the North Face, Starter, and Patagonia, plus hard-to-find sneakers. Flight Club takes only a 30 percent fee from each transaction, which means that you’d get to keep 70 percent of the $225 price tag on a pair of rare Air Jordans. Hopeful resellers with fewer than five items can walk in during the afternoons, though those with more loot need to make an appointment.

Recent find: Original pair of green Nike Delta Force sneakers from the nineties. “Coming across a pair that’s never been worn and still in the box is very unusual,” manager Carlos Duran says.

Designer Accessories

A Second Chance Designer Resale
1109 Lexington Ave., nr. 77th St.; 212-744-6041
Though it also consigns clothes, A Second Chance stands out for designer bags, jewelry, and accessories by names like Lanvin, Fendi, Prada, and Gucci. While it’ll buy Chanel pieces outright, other brands consign for a fifty-fifty split. Prices trend on the high side here: Currently, a David Yurman ring set is marked at $750, Hermès bangles at $400.

Recent find:Vintage eighties Chanel cuff ($4, 999). “We were told that it used to belong to Winona Ryder,” co-owner Maria Ridolfi says.


Bespoke Bicycles
64B Lafayette Ave., at S. Elliott Pl., Ft. Greene; 718-643-6816
Most bike owners know that when it comes to getting cash for your wheels, Craigslist is king. But if you’re looking to upgrade your ride, it’s worth attempting a store-credit deal at Bespoke (usually between $50 and $100). While the stock skews toward cruisers, they often make trades on other types of bikes without suspension, sometimes to resell, sometimes for the parts. Refurbished and used models usually sell for between $150 and $500.

Recent find: A 1957 Rudge three-speed bike ($500). “It’s one of the older English three-speeds that you’ll ever see,” owner Cassidy Vare says.

Comic Books

Midtown Comics
200 W. 40th St., at Seventh Ave., second fl. 212-302-8192
To keep its three locations and online store stocked, the comics supermarket will buy just about anything in decent condition—from rarities of the forties to a new Doctor Solar you picked up a month ago. Even if the store already has 100 copies of your particular issue, it’ll usually buy it—though you might not get more than 50 cents. Midtown rarely does walk-in deals, however; call to set up an appointment.

Recent find:Captain America Comics No. 2 ($1,800). “Among the most scarce comics in the world. Back in the forties, any unsold copies were destroyed after the first month of publication,” says collectibles buyer Alex Rae.

Midtown ComicsPhoto: Danny Kim/New York Magazine

Gold and Silver

Global Gold and Silver
30 W. 47th St., nr. Fifth Ave., Ste. 406; 212-575-2975
A retirement home of sorts for mateless gold earrings and cuff links, not to mention that necklace you’ve never worn, Global stands out among diamond-district sellers, publishing rates on its website daily so resellers can wait until the time is right. (The average payout for one pennyweight of 14-karat gold is about $40; $64.95 for 24-karat gold.) While Global mostly melts down pieces, it does hold on to the occasional whopper in the hopes of reselling it.

Recent find:A 2,000-carat blue-topaz stone (no price tag; accepting offers). “It probably belongs in a museum,” says owner Steve Madar. “You don’t see things like this in stores.”

An Entire Apartment’s Worth of Stuff

Artists & Fleas
70 N. 7th St., nr. Wythe Ave., Williamsburg; 917-301-5765
At this recently expanded secondhand mini-mall, it costs $80 per day to rent a six-by-six foot space—a reasonable flat fee if you’ve got a slew of pieces to turn, because you’ll keep all the profit. (Reserve the space for four consecutive days and get a $40 total discount.) Would-be vendors are required to submit an application as well as photos of their sale items for approval at least three weeks in advance, ensuring that the bulk of the market’s merch is in better condition than your average sidewalk-sale loot. Regular vendor Alia Wilson, for example, prices her home goods, which range from vintage house fans to old typewriters, between $40 and $225.

Recent FIND: A vintage 1965 full-body dress form ($225).“It was literally just rolling down Kent Avenue when we found it,” Wilson says. “And it’s gorgeous, worn but not ratty—we get a million compliments a day on it.”

Where Trash Becomes Scratch