Sunday, October 25, 2009

Manhattan Bead Shopping Expedition

Mom and I had a wonderful shopping trip in the city this week. We spent most of the day Wednesday shopping in the garment district until we couldn't carry any more.
We left Albany on the 7 am Megabus which dropped us just past Madison Square Garden at 27Th by 10:15.
Our first stop was Metalliferrous on West 46Th Street. Metalliferous is my kind of shopping. It is a second floor store filled floor to ceiling with metal racks and plastic bins. Each bin contains a stamping, finding, filigree or turning in brass, copper, aluminum or silver. It is like a treasure hunt to find exactly what you want, to find things things that you didn't know existed and to find your imagination running amok! I had a grand time and filled many lovely plastic baggies for Becky and myself. Mom was less than enthused. It had been a long walk, the shop was overly warm and it was difficult for her to decipher the pricing structure on the boxes as she didn't have reading glasses with her. We went to Starbucks for coffee and a sit down then hailed a cab back to 32ND Street to meet Melissa at her office.
Good food for lunch and great company restored us. We were ready to walk again so we headed over to sixth Avenue where a cluster of bead shops waited for us.
I try to stop at Toho Shoji whenever we are in the area. The staff there is friendly and knowledgeable. They stock a wide variety of seed beads, rhinestones, charms, and findings. Here you can find wire mesh ribbon in a variety of sizes and colors as well as Lucite, plastic and rhinestone trims for embellishing cellphones, glasses, shoes and hair clips. I was intrigued by what people were putting together and found several new wheel charms fr use in Steam punk designs as well as some beads with an unusual finish that makes them resemble gum drops.
Turning the corner onto West 37Th Street found us in Suma Beads Gems and Pearls taking to the proprietor Banu who was talkative, charming and took a liking to Mom. Her bead quality is great and her prices are good. She is interested in building up a client base of Upstate New Yorkers. We took several of her cards and promised to pass them on. Banu gave me a spectacular price on a string of labradorite briolettes that has the most beautiful flash in their coloring that I have ever seen.
We wandered along 37Th street stopping into several other shops for a strand of turquoise, some matte onyx and lovely smoky quartz. We met Melissa back in her office by 5 with tired feet, light wallets and heavy shopping bags (rocks and metal weigh a lot)! She joined us for the trip back home to work out of the Loudenville office for a couple of days.
I recommend bead shopping in NYC to anyone who has the stamina for it, and you won't find a better, less expensive and more comfortable ride than the Megabus. The buses are new with Wi-Fi access and the trip only takes 2 hours and 45 minutes. Our round trip tickets cost us 15 dollars each and all day parking in the Amtrack lot is only 5 dollars.
I can't wait til the next time!

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