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A New York Thing on Hester St.

Written by Eve Hyman
Photographed by Melinda Maclean

“aNYthing" stickers are all over my neighborhood. “What is that?” I asked a friend who’d linked it to her Myspace page. “Is it art, clothing, or music?” “Yeah,” she said.

A New York Thing is a clothing line that’s been around for five years. In December of 2005, the “aNYthing" boutique opened on 51 Hester Street on the Lower East Side. The “aNYthing" brand is primarily t-shirts and hats, but the store also features a range of clothing, music, and art from local designers and artists. There are coffee table books, art ‘zines, and special edition t-shirts from local artists including Whitney artists Ryan McGinley and Dash Snow. One can browse a hand-picked library of books, film, and music, all catered to aNYthing taste. A Germs documentary sits next to Harold and Maude on the DVD shelf. The Stones share a bin with Kudu while Bukowsky and Emerson lean against each other a shelf above.

Simon Curtis, a graphic artist for aNYthing, describes the store as having a real New York feeling. “We call it The Day Club,” he says. “Most days there are kids hanging out in front. This neighborhood is where we grew up. New York has changed a lot - now there are a lot of things that aren’t really authentic. It’s actually a modern version of stores that used to be on St. Marks back in the day. A spot where friends can meet – it’s almost like a movement. We’re bringing back the New York we knew.”

“The aNYthing store is a destination – it’s off the beaten path. Tourists who come here have to have read about it to know it. The aNYthing line is street fashion – like Alife is to sneakers.

Music Display
aNYthing Customers

 

After seeing Neckface tags all over my neighborhood two years ago I pickup the mini ‘zine. I notice it’s a black and white photocopy and comment about the $5 price tag. Simon makes a good case – “Stuff is handmade,” he says. “It has a touch to it. It’s artwork – you’re getting these unique pieces.”

The same can be said of the brand as a whole. It’s a unique approach interweaving fashion and media. The website launched with a blog (they call a “glob”), radio station and puppet video series. There’s even a virtual library – a sort of suggested reading for summer. The Kid America segments are a highlight with narratives from foulmouthed puppets from the wrong side of the borough.


The Caps

Mo’ Pitkins on Avenue A has a caricature of John L eguizamo wearing an aNYthing baseball cap on its cartoon wall of fame. Leaving Mo’s the same night I’d visited 51 Hester, I open a magazine and see Fat Joe with an aNYthing t-shirt peeking out of his blazer. aNYthing seems to be making its mark in street fashion chic. The store, like De La Vega’s and Giant Robot in the East Village, is a great stop for tourists and locals alike, a way to engage in art as commerce – to pick up “unique pieces” and to get a little of the “real New York feeling."

Counter Display
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