Quirk is key at a growing genre of modern vintage shops, where the offerings are a curated hodgepodge of ’80s and ’90s memorabilia, throwback home goods and clothing, and hard-to-find trinkets — all inexpensive.
PAPER DOLL CURIOSITY SHOPPE
WHERE 33 E. Main St, Patchogue
The newly opened Paper Doll Curiosity Shoppe specializes in retro items such as toys and accessories that are “unique but special and cool in their own way,” says owner Dominique Maciejka. “It’s almost like anyone who feels alternative or different on Long Island can kind of fit in by not fitting in here.”
The Curiosity Shoppe is the latest installment of the Paper Doll series, which Maciejka started five years ago in Sayville with her boyfriend, Joseph Laspina. Their vintage shops, the second of which opened in 2016 in Huntington, are geared toward women.
The main goal with the Curiosity Shoppe was to appeal to a wider audience and to satisfy a retail shortage in a burgeoning downtown besieged with bars and restaurants, Maciejka says. The shop’s ever-changing inventory is sourced from worldwide vendors. During a recent visit, it was stocked with flasks, $1 finger puppets, mood rings and other jewelry, sunglasses, band T-shirts and beard oils. No item is priced higher than $65.
“I try to find things that you can’t find at the mall, that people like to play with and interact with,” Maciejka says.
The colorful interactive space is home to a 7-foot Sasquatch statue and a spiral vortex that have become backdrops for selfies and attractions in their own right.
DEEP END OF THE SANDBOX
WHERE 650 Portion Rd., Lake Ronkonkoma
INFO 631-676-3130, deependofthesandbox.com
Sourcing is no secret at Deep End of the Sandbox in Lake Ronkonkoma.
“I buy my items direct from the attic or basement it’s been sitting in for 30 years,” says owner Lauren Bochicchio, whose shop has a “heavy ’80s” focus.
As such, Intellivision, Atari and Nintendo video games are among the most in-demand items, along with vinyl records, luggage and “anything ‘Star Wars’-themed,” Bochicchio says.
Toys are also top-sellers: He-Man, GI Joe, My Little Pony, Huggabunch, Fisher Price Little People, Alf and Matchbox cars move quickly here.
Here, too, affordability is a priority: Most items range from $2 to $15.
On the clothing front, concert T-shirts, hats and denim jackets resonate across age groups. Most shoppers who visit Deep End of the Sandbox, which also regularly stocks midcentury furniture and decor, signs, and old newspapers, do so without an agenda.
“People like to just dig around and see what kind of thing they forgot they needed,” Bochicchio says.
WHERE Select dates, Huntington Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington
Cult-A-Rama is a one-stop flea market pop-up shop hosted intermittently at the Huntington Cinema Arts Centre.
“This isn’t a vintage shop, it’s more like a swap meet festival that supports local artists and businesses,” says Matt Roren, box-office manager and creative director of the art center’s Cult Cafe series.
Since its debut last year on Black Friday, the event has attracted a few hundred people every three months or so that it has been held.
Cult-A-Rama — a collaborative effort between the Huntington-based Hideaway Vinyl, Rosie’s Vintage and Cult Cafe — sources artwork, handmade goods, vinyl records, antique jewelry and vintage clothing.
It is free to attend and incorporates live music as spun by an area DJ as well as $5 craft beers.
“It’s a real fun time, much more about community than anything else, and we have a raffle where all proceeds are donated to the National Endowment for the Arts,” Roren says.
Organizers say the next event is likely to be held on Black Friday.