UPPER WEST SIDE — The recently opened vintage jewelry store Pippin is hoping to pique the Upper West Side's interest in history.
Throughout the narrow store on Columbus Avenue between 75th and 74th Streets, which opened its doors in June, artfully arrayed tableaus of vintage jewelry and accessories beg investigation. Oversized rings, brightly patterned silk scarves, felt hats, diamond watches and shiny cuff links are among the store's stock, which includes items from the 1880s to the 1980s.
Pippin's manager, Erin Wilensky, initially studied and worked in land conservation but said she got pulled into the family business, which began with Pippin's Chelsea flagship eight years ago.
Her stepfather and mother, Stephen and Rachel Cooper, collect special treasures at auctions in Western Massachusetts and through dealers in the city. This summer, they felt the time was right to expand the business.
"I think that people are still discovering that we're here," said Wilensky. "We do have lots of regular Chelsea customers coming up, but it's yet to be seen whether vintage is right for here."
She said the store is starting to have regular customers, and each week she brings in different objects and rearranges their layout to entice visitors to return.
Wilensky said that the presence of Housing Works across the street and the GreenFlea on the block encouraged her.
She also likes to wear vintage clothing and jewelry and expects the store will see an uptick at Halloween, with customers seeking unique additions to their costumes, and during the holiday season.
"In general, there's a push towards finding older things that are made well," said Wilensky. "Vintage jewelry is of higher quality, and it often costs less — and it's going to last."
Underneath the store's glass cases are pieces that cost up to $12,500, but almost everything else is under $55, said Wilensky. Many costume rings, for example, are $12.
Each piece is tagged with a date and shares the material used to make it. Often, Wilensky can tell you even more of the story or rationale behind the piece. She said people love to hear the narrative of what they're buying.
And Pippin isn't just for women, Wilensky added.
"We do get lots of men looking for tie clips and tie pins — looking for that Mad Men look," she said.