When you stop a shopping New Yorker and ask them where they find their bargains you will usually receive a roster of the same stores. On it will be Century 21 (The Brooklyn store for the hardcore bargain hunter), Loehmann’s at 17th Street, DSW at Union Square and the Barney's Warehouse Sale. These are the stores that mark down major designer labels so that instead of spending 6 months income on your wardrobe you may only end up spending two. That's if you stick to a well planned list. There was a time when I walked the aisles of these stores but then one day after exiting Loehmann's and turning the corner of 17th Street I came across Housing Work's.
Housing Works is an organization that runs a number of used clothing & furniture stores through out New York City. The proceeds from events and purchases go to ending homelessness and the aids crisis, two issues that are not shiny and new to most of us but still exist despite no longer being the darling cause of the media.
In addition to working toward good causes they offer the most amazing finds in used and often new designer donated items around. I must apologize to the Salvation Army, but Housing Works blows them and Goodwill out of the water with the quality and value of things you can find there. The day I found the 17th Street store I had been looking for a plain white men's style cotton shirt with French cuffs and I kid you not when I type that there on the rack were 5 in a row, all new, all with price tags and high designer labels still on, marked down to $10 each.
A few months back I purchased brand new designer plates for $1 each only to find that when I googled the designer to see if I could purchase some more items in the same pattern they still retailed, "on sale" for $42 a plate. The range of antique furniture is astounding and for those of use wanting a beautiful piece of art for our walls they have all manner of items. They even run a discount bookstore that has readings and signing events that all are welcome to. Have a look at their on line auction site to see a small sampling of the items you might find in any number of their locations but please do make the effort to locate a Housing Works near you and stop in to appease your shopping bug while helping out a good cause.