Nestled behind the black iron fence is a quaint shop that celebrates Christmas all year long. The Chelsea Christmas Shop, formerly known as Authentiques, not only stocks your childhood Christmas favorites, they also carry a multitude of vintage home and kitchen decor from the turn of the 20th-century, mid-20th century, and the present. Here you will discover the perfect vintage gift. This store is a must-visit for Christmas lovers and vintage collectors wanting authentic vintage items, home and holiday decor, as well as new retro-chic vintage style ornaments.
Written by Sabrina Tate
* While ZTrend strives to write fact-based pieces about New York City's small boutiques, "splash visit" profiles may contain inaccuracies, as "splash visits" are merely the interpretation of the writer's first-hand experience and should not to be relied upon as fact.
Step inside the Christmas Shop, formerly known as Authentiques Past & Present, and prepare to be transported into another era; located in Chelsea, the cozy shop sells authentic vintage pieces from the 1940s through the 1970s. Items such as silver-tone and gold-tone overlaid glassware and stemware, cocktail shakers, ceramic lamps with metallic gold tones and original shades, a wide variety of salt and pepper shakers, a stunning array of Murano art glass, kitchenware and many more collectibles are available at Authentiques. In addition, the store boasts the largest selection of original vintage New York City postcards spanning from 1904 to the 1950s.
The shop was opened in 1976 by co-owners Robert Pusilo and Paul Richards, and for good reason has well withstood the test of time, now celebrating 30 years in business. In the beginning, the storefront was opened only on Saturdays, when one could purchase vintage textiles and upscale antiques. For a time they considered naming the shop "Saturdays Only." The rear of the store was shared with "The Robert Pusilo Studio," where Robert, a costume designer and stylist designed and constructed costumes for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and rented vintage and new clothing for film, stage and television productions.
Today, Authentiques devotes the entire length of the store to a more colorful, kitchy, fun collection, selling household items that were once sold in small gift shops and department stores. Over the years, the merchandise has shifted more toward what the younger generation is looking for.
“The youth of today have a fresh eye for old stuff, it speaks to them in a different way” says Robert Pusilo. The emphasis at Authentiques is one thing that has remained constant, which is selling quality items in the best condition.
Authentiques sells items from time-specific collections, such as commemorative pieces from the 1939 and 1964 World Fairs, as well as an extensive collection of ocean liner memorabilia. The collection includes pieces of china, books, playing cards, genuine sailor ribbons, and photographs of such ships as the English Queen Mary, the Italian Conte di Savoia, the German Europa, and the French SS Normandie.
The shop even has its own greeting card line - the “Jennyjohn” card collection, which was named in honor of Pusilo’s mother and father. He designed the collection himself, and it features neighborhood photographs of Chelsea and other parts of Manhattan, as well as images from the turn of the century to the mid-1950s.
Over Labor Day weekend the shop is converted into the Chelsea Christmas Shop. During this time, the inventory is condensed and a fresh set of both vintage and new Christmas pieces are made available. Among the merchandise are foiled Christmas trees, intricate glassware, Santa Claus figurals and angel ornaments. In keeping with the rotating holiday theme, Authentiques also decorates the front of the store with Halloween-inspired merchandise during mid-September.
Regardless of season, this shop is a must-visit for late 20th century enthusiasts and collectors.
Written by George Morales | Edited by Rebecca Benison