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It’s the economy, stupid.

Candy nostalgia reigns supreme in the Lower East Side’s Economy Candy store. This circa-1937 Lower East Side staple is filled from floor to ceiling with retro and international confections, including innumerable  brands you never knew were still in production, or even existed from the get-go. Remember wanting to ‘smoke’ candy cigarettes at the corner drugstore like the big kids? Want a piece of Big League Chew after Sunday’s pick-up game? Imagine a rainbow colored array of chocolates, candy button, lollipops, taffies, collectible Pez dispensers, rock candies, gum-balls and every treat that’s meant to upset your dentist. New York Magazine’s review writes, “Rivington Street’s Economy Candy is pure over-the-top New York, a font of variety and abundance that would leave Willy Wonka weeping in his cocoa.”

That’s me, Keren, posing like Economy Candy’s mascot, below! See the resemblance?

Want an Economy Candy Tote for your finds?

Candies by the box

Zagnut bar? Here. Charleston Chews? You bet baby! You want thingamabobs? They’ve got twenty…It is literally impossible to feel depressed in this sucrose, dextrose neon colored dream. In usual NYC fashion, the store is three times smaller than it should be, almost like a Hoarders episode meets an encyclopedic, library-esque sweets store. The space can feel cramped pretty quickly, and lines of by-the-pound shoppers can get daunting during (sugar) rush hour but, don’t let that dismay you!

Baseball Cards and Candy Buttons

Kitsch Galore with Piggy Bank Tins

Fox’s U-bet Chocolate & Flavored Syrups are an original, Brooklyn-bred treat from the era of the soda jerk! Created in 1895, this liquid is rumored to be the only way to make a perfect New York Chocolate Egg Cream.

I will let Economy Candy explain the history of this institution, straight from the horse’s mouth, “Since 1937, on the Lower East Side Economy Candy is an old-fashioned, family-owned candy store that sells hundreds of kinds of chocolates, candies, nuts, dried fruits; including halvah, sugar free candy and of course all the old time candy you had when you were a kid.

When Jerry Cohen’s father opened Economy Candy in 1937, it was a typical corner candy store of its day. Bulk bins full of colorful hard candies enticed youngsters with their panorama of choices. Guys could buy their dolls a heart-shaped box of chocolates when they had trouble expressing themselves in words. Barrels in the back yielded a geography lesson of nuts from around the world. The hard times of the Depression were easing up, the grim specter of war-to-come wasn’t yet hovering over American shores, and television was a scientific marvel that was unlikely to have any practical commercial application.

Years later, the Dow Jones is soaring to previously unimagined heights, military actions are measured in days, and computer-literate three-year-olds are unnervingly common. And the former youngsters of 1937 still visit Economy Candy for a scoop of goodies, a bag of pistachios, or a slice of halvah like you can’t get anywhere else. And their children and their children’s children shop there, too. This old-fashioned candy store offers SOLID DISCOUNTS on everything from sour balls to upscale chocolates.”

Lollipop, Lollipop, Oh Lolly Lolly Pop!

My coffee cup is resting precariously on Old Fashioned Candy Sticks and Candy Canes so I could get this shot of the M&M wall. The confectionary utopia has common candies as well (and sometimes ever color coded), however its strength lies in the products of yore!  The whole space reads like a Pop Art painting.

My friend, Jeffrey J., exploring the endless possibilities in this parlor of sweets.

The Candy Man Can

Feel like a “Kid in a candy store”, yet? If buying in bulk is not your forte, trying living with these pastel, saccharine soaked products:

Candy is Dandy but Liquor is Quicker

Shop by the Numbers:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

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Shareen Vintage

In an unassuming industrial building, tucked away behind rusting iron balconies, and up a freight-entrance style staircase lies a magical candy land of vintage style. Walking into a semi-residential apartment building, next to a whiskey bar, and across from several scaffolded sidewalks, the only hint towards the hidden glory that is Shareen Vintage are a few clothing racks seen through a window and a framed Hermes scarf in the stairwell and hallway. Sometimes a red ball gown can be seen hanging from a fire escape alerting potential-shoppers to a glimpse of what’s to come.

The surprise of this gem was such a shocker that I did not even know to bring my good camera – bear with the iPhone photos!

Once inside Shareen Vintage, it is as if I followed a leprechaun to a sartorial pot-of-gold.; as if a witch will snap her fingers and make this shop disappear, and I would believe someone if they told me it was ‘all a dream’. Talking to Shareen, she explains to me that she is most inspired by cinema and the ever-changing style of movie stars. From Bette Davis to Clara Bow to Audrey Hepburn to Brigitte Bardot to Sophia Loren or Diane Keaton, Shareen will have a frock to fit your decade. Shareen particularly loves the glamour of the nineteen-forties.

The shop girls act more like personal shoppers and best friends than retail workers. They offer me wine, pretzels, water, and dozens of other snacks. Together, my cadre of friends and I make this space our home for the next hour. Never are we felt rushed. We sit on blanket and sheet covered couches (ala your dormitory days) and wax poetic about who has the best hips, eyes, waist, and style for specific decades. We are empowered as we all change in front of one another, sans dressing room, admiring our own womanly bodies (celebrating and exposing ourself to our friends, not hiding). I feel about as liberated and open as I would if I were trying on my sister’s dress or my best friends jeans, in either’s closet.

A dress good enough for Daisy Buchanan to wear to a Gatsby soiree. 

Did I mention that Shareen, aside from amazing talent to collect, sort, and find unique vintage pieces, also repurposes fabrics, prints, and items for the “modern” age? Here are a few re-imagined dresses, some perfect for a casual walk through town square, others have been worn to weddings and to the Emmys.

The belts come in a bevy of colors from gunmetal smoke to a rustic brown leather. 

Shareen is bicoastal and bides her time between two shops in LA and one shop in NYC. Her mystical oeuvre and calming, honest, but stern spirit can be encountered every Thursday at 3 West 17th Street New York NY. Did I mention that most of her items are under $48 dollars? With over 2,000 pieces, there’s plenty of vintage diamonds-in-the-rough through which to sift. Step into her enormous and charming closet, you won’t regret it. Eclectic shops with their own life-force and personality, held in even older buildings are what keep me attracted to the ever changing nature of the creature known as New York City.

Image of Eighties Black-and-White Puff-Sleeve Party Dress, $38. Oleg Cassini Red-Sequin Party Dress, $44 by Melissa Hom, via.

Image of White Leather Fringe Jacket, $55. Big Fur Jacket with Leather Belt, $55 by Melissa Hom, via.

 

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Mixology (13)

Beach Tote:  GREEN STRIPE BEACH SHOPPER with Rope Straps by Wallis, HERE / Room: Celerie Kemble’s phenomenal turquoise acid trip of a tropical dining room featuring Gorgeous wallpaper from Quadrille’s “China Seas” collection and bamboo fretwork chairs. If you have a house in a glamorous hot beachy locale, this is what your dining room should look like, image found via The Foo Dog Ate My Homework, HERE

Beach Tote: Dvf 1974 Large beach tote in s a quirky retro-cool vibe with coral vintage buds print and the effortlessly cool Hawaiian surf culture, lilac and aqua large beach tote bag, both prints found HERE & HERE / Room:  Jungle Foliage, Flower Patterns, and tropical inspired neon hues permeate this living room from House to Home, photograph by Dominic Blackmore, image found HERE

Beach Tote: Beach Bag 3 in Blue Odyssey by Roberta Roller Rabbit found HERE / Room: Bedroom by Masucco Warner Miller in San Francisco,  “Summer Palace” wallpaper by Osborne & Little’s, image found HERE

Beach Tote: A Huipil is a Mayan Textile worn as a blouse by indigenous mayan women. Here is appears in tote form! Feel like you are on vacation all year with the fun Crochet Beach Bag from Stela 9, HERE / Room: Western Springs Living Room by Vintage Scout Interiors, found HERE