Billy's Antiques & Props- 76 East Houston, NYC
"Step right up everyone and see the strangest and most unique street antique shop that exists in New York City." I have been walking past Billy's Antiques & Props since I moved to the East Village three weeks ago. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was a traveling circus. With it's large green tent surrounded by a chain link fence, signage posted between two vintage street lamps, and furniture lining the sidewalk, you almost expect people to be walking around in costume- perhaps the two headed lady or maybe, if I'm lucky, the ring leader!
This place was created in 1986, when according to it's website, the East Village was not often visited "except for the adventurous. As the sun would set on East Houston, the junkies and alcoholics would lurk around like zombies, asking for handouts." The East Village is nothing like that now- mostly surrounded by young professionals and NYU students. This shop is a little treasure in downtown. There are so many interesting and fabulous finds and unbelievable prices! So often, these type of random antique shops mark their merchandise up so much it is hard to make a justification for the purchase. There were so many things I wanted, as my imagination was trying to figure out with each piece how I could "glam it up." Thankfully, I was able to take two pictures of items that I absolutely LOVE before my camera died.
Both of these lights were working and in near perfect condition. The chandelier was $200 and the lantern below was $120. I unfortunately have no where to put them, but they are wonderful! They could remain as is- or be painted some interesting color, with or without little shades.
Going through my "inspiration" file of ripped out images from magazines, I found an image of a antique lantern similar in style to the above fixture, but much more detailed that retailed for $10,450!!!!! I tried to find it on the Internet, but alas, it must have sold.
The reason why these specific fixtures caught my attention is due to the fact that one of my favorite little dining areas was featured in the Instyle March 2008 issue showing off Nicky Hilton's home in Los Angeles. Take a look at the Beverly Hills Hotel inspired dining room and pay close attention to the light fixture. Different, but similar in flavor and style!
Isn't this room so fun and glamorous even with the iron patio furniture acting as interior furniture!?! Very much reminiscent of the golden era of Hollywood! The Banana Leaf Wallpaper is still available today at Designerwallcoverings.com. I intend on designing a room one day with this wallpaper- either for someone else, or perhaps my own garden and patio room. Yes, that's right. You heard me. I will have a garden room one day!
So for any of you New Yorkers who want some great unique pieces at reasonable prices and in fairly good condition, check out Billy's Antiques & Props. The staff is really helpful! You never know what you will find. Perhaps like me, it will be finding a piece like one I never dreamed I could afford!