Archive for the ‘Vintage Items’ Category

Randomness # 5

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

A mod room with a view.

Recent Additions to Homer’s Antique Medical Book Library

Friday, October 1st, 2010

We recently acquired a collection of vintage 1930′s and 1940′s medical books from a local physician’s estate. They will be added to our ever-expanding Homer’s Antique Medical Book Collection here at the Mystery Spot. Titles include Gray’s Anatomy (1930), The Diseases of Infants and Children (1935), Text Book of Pathology (1934), Babcock’s Text Book of Surgery (1935), and The Surgical Technic of Abdominal Operations (1946), among others.

A stack of vintage medical books.

We admit a morbid fascination with these types of books, tempered with great respect and more than a little trepidation to even open the pages. The illustrations and photographs inside are for the most part horrifying but one can’t help but look.

We’ve scanned a few of our favorite pages for you, but rest assured we didn’t go to that dark place. You’ll have to see the books themselves to see what we mean. And you will thank us for showing such restraint.

See Who’s Shopped the Spot Lately!

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

We’ve been so busy shopping barns, basements and attics and getting ready for our fall season, we’ve been remiss in posting photos of our recent visitors, customers and friends. Herewith, forthwith, and toot-sweet: some favorite recent Mystery Spotters!

Right before they stepped out onto our front porch to play an amazing free show with Mercury Rev for the townsfolk of Phoenicia, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips browsed the vintage wares of the Mystery Spot. Dean scored a stack of used vinyl, and Britta scooped up this beautiful vintage 50s deep blue velvet halter top, among other goodies.

World-famous artist/illustrators Jordin Isip and Melinda Beck and their daughters Chloe (6) and Simone (8) came up for a visit and rocked the Spot. Jordin and Melinda are prom-worthy in a Sixties Rat Pack gold dinner jacket ($95.) and Sixties red chiffon cocktail dress ($85.), Simone is clad in a vintage girl’s plaid Fifties frock ($20.) with purse, hat, sandals and garish 70s piggy bank ($8.) , and Chloe the cutest cowgirl this side of the Rockies, complete with cowboy boots, cowboy book, and unusual handmade confetti-cellophane cowboy hat!

Vinyl overload! Holly, Louie and Kate raided our record room and found these treasures. Singer/songwriter/all-around wonderful person Holly Miranda recently performed a free show on our front porch which you can see clips of here and here. Kate Moennig (The L Word) is an amazing actor soon to be seen in The Lincoln Lawyer. And Captain Louie is a lifelong close personal friend of the Mystery Spot! Their vinyl scores include Patsy Cline, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jaws ($3 – 12.)

People often ask us who created the beautiful Mystery Spot log hanging above our entryway. Full credit goes to artist and dear friend Keith Strahan. When we moved to the old Gormley Hotel on Main Street last year, our biggest concern was whether or not the log would fit the porch (as it was custom-made for our previous location). It fit perfectly! A sign from the heavens indeed.

A while back the editor of The Believer in San Francisco contacted us and invited us to contribute artwork to the magazine. We weren’t familiar with this McSweeney’s publication at the time, but once we took a gander, we were hooked. Have you seen it? In our opinion it’s absolutely the best publication out there. Books and culture, art and photography; a cover-to-cover must-read every month.

Anyway, this is a long-winded way of getting to the photo above. That’s the aforementioned editor, Andrew Leland on the left. We’d never met in person until this summer, when he made a special trip to see us and our shop. Accompanying him, Betsy Wright Milton and Lily Gurton-Wachter. Behind them, the original painting of Songbirds of the Catskills, which was published as the inside front cover of The Believer in 2008. In their hands, some of their Mystery Spot loot: a vintage Fifties yellow and white kitchen wall clock ($35.), an old children’s storybook, and a Lily Tomlin LP. Needless to say, we had a wonderful time hanging out and cooked up all sorts of future projects. Can’t wait!

Cassandra Jones and Ben Olson made out like bandits here at the Spot. Cassandra – who, as a buyer for Macy’s, knows a thing or two about fashion – scored a vintage 50s NOS (that’s New Old Stock) brown wool coat with mink collar, with original tags ($130.) and a vintage Sixties Hong Kong hand-beaded silver shell top ($95.). Ben, a NY-based painter, whose work is currently being shown at The Gallery Bar on the Lower East Side, worked the vinyl room. Cassandra left us with these words: “This place is fabulous – I’ll be back many times!” Looking forward, Cassandra!

The Watershed Post out of Andes, NY, is our new favorite local news blog here in the Catskills, and the women behind it are Lissa Harris and Julie Resichel, holding daughter Ruby, who, btw, is holding a book called Ruby – Heart of Gold from 1895, which we just happened to have on our shelves. You can’t really tell from this photo, but the 1895 version of Ruby eerily resembles 2010 Ruby. With them is their friend, writer Alison Cherry. OK, now go click on their blog – it’s great reading!

We Love Old Paper!

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Some of the fresh ephemera headed into the Spot. Tabloids from Jackie Kennedy’s marriage to Ari Onassis. (Midnight, The National Tattler, the NY Daily News, and of course the National Enquirer). An estate haul of over one hundred 1960s TV Guides. A stack of WWII-era Variety magazines. New Yorker magazines from the 1950s. If you have the time, each and every one of these bits of wood pulp is fascinating reading from cover to cover. Trust us, they have not been easy to part with!

When Jacqueline Kennedy married Aristole Onassis in 1968 it was big news. These all came from a "Kennedy collection" we picked up at an auction years ago. Now at the Mystery Spot, 5 – 10 bucks apiece.

The motherlode of over a hundred Sixties TV Guides from TV's golden years. Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, F-Troop, The Avengers, Gilligan's Island, The Flying Nun, The Patty Duke Show, and Star Trek, to name but a few.

A stack of old Variety magazines from the 1940's.

Peek inside a Forties Variety and this is what you'll find: ads for the new releases of the day: Notorious, Spellbound, Chain Lightning.

Our favorite pages to peruse are in the back of the magazine, which contain tiny display ads for obscure variety and musical acts on tour. This one caught our attention: Ray Bourbon at the Starlit Room in Hollywood. Could this be the one and the same Rae Bourbon, drag performer from the Fifties, whose records we sometimes come across? And what ever happened to Laurette and Clymas?

Here's one of Rae Bourbon's albums we've been fortunate to come across.

A Barn Filled with Antique Bottles!

Friday, September 10th, 2010
Two dozen Warranted Whiskey Flasks in tight formation.

Two dozen Warranted Whiskey Flasks in tight formation.

We love it when get house calls like this. Old estate: house, barns and outbuildings, come check it out. Lo and behold, we walked in and discovered boxes and boxes of old bottles. They were all dug up from the Ashokan reservoir back in the day.

Local Catskills bottles from Kingston, Saugerties, Hudson, New Paltz and Roundout.

The Ashokan is located where nine entire villages of almost 2,000 people used to exist, including Shokan, Olivebridge, and Brown’s Station. By 1914 all of the residents had been displaced, and their villages – houses, churches, shops – were flooded. When the tide is low you can still see the old foundations from the ghost towns.

A colorful array.

We used to dig bottles in the woods when we came up to the family cabin in the summer as a kid, and that’s a bug you never shake. So we were thrilled to be digging around in this barn, and took several boxes-ful for the Mystery Spot.

Before the bottle-washing marathon.

All in all we bought several hundred bottles, including canning jars, old patent medicine bottles, insulators, whiskey bottles, beer bottles and lord knows what else.

Old glass insulators, full of bubbles.

We’re still going through them all. We doubt any of them have any significant value, but we’re just happy to look at them all day.

The teeny-tinies.

We hope to have some out on the Mystery Spot Antiques shelves by this weekend. Come to Phoenicia and check ‘em out!

Summer’s End

Friday, September 3rd, 2010


1950's LUX electric wall clock with month and day ($65).

To slip on that Fifties Bombshell Hawaiian Sarong Swimsuit from B. Altman

1950's pink floral pin-up Hawaiian sarong-style swimsuit ($75.)

Grab some good old classic American literature

And head down to the creek as your Summer Vacation gently winds down.

But don’t cry for these waning days of summer……

…As more fun awaits in the Big City!


Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

We’re still pinching ourselves. The free show that Mercury Rev and Dean & Britta played on the Mystery Spot porch Sunday afternoon was truly special. Hard to explain, but those lucky ones who attended know what we mean. (The videos in our previous post give a clue). Deepest thanks to music/entertainment lawyer extraordinaire (and dear friend!) Loren Chodosh, who put the whole event into motion, to Lisa Gottheil and Kellyn Slone at 2:30 Publicity for all their hard work and support, and to the Kirks and the people of Phoenicia for letting us do our thing. Most of all, thanks to D&B&J&G for giving us a day to remember!Here are a few photos. (All photos © Laura Levine).

Grasshopper, Jonathan Donahue, Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham with some of their Mystery Spot swag.

Jonathan Donahue, Grasshopper, Dean and Britta on the porch of Mystery Spot Antiques.

Britta Phillips sings a beautiful version of "I'll Keep It With Mine."

Dean Wareham checks out the vinyl room.

Porch rockers!

The crowd on Main Street.

Tommy Ramone and Dean Wareham. Tommy's band Uncle Monk will be playing a free show on the Mystery Spot's front porch next Sunday (Aug. 22) at 2 PM.

A Summer’s Weekend (or Two)

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Visits with some of our friends, neighbors and customers who’ve popped into the Mystery Spot recently. We’re deep into the summer rush here at the Spot, so forgive us lagging behind on posts. Do keep checking back for more updates, including photos (and video!) from Ida, The Naysayer, and Holly Miranda’s porch shows.

Our friend Michael Gira has been very productive lately. Case in point: new son Swan (left) and a new Swans release (My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky) coming on September 27. And an upcoming world tour. (Extra Credit Fun Fact: we (that is, Laura Levine) took the photos for Swans Children of God album cover.

Swans, NYC, 1985 © Laura Levine

This photograph (above) isn’t from Children of God, but it’s one we took around the same time.

World-renowned mezzo soprano Maria Todaro has sung the title role of Carmen and numerous other lead roles on opera stages around the world, and was tickled to find this 1895 libretto of Carmen in our book room (Homer’s Books d’Arte). She and her partners will be bringing the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice to the Catskills in mid-August and it promises to be an amazing event. You’ll be able to see her perform al fresco in the park in Falstaff on the evening of Sat. Aug. 14. (And the next day come on by the Spot to catch Jonathan and Grasshopper from Mercury Rev and Dean and Britta on our porch at 1 PM for a free show!).

Molly models our favorite vintage Forties child’s green smock (ties in the back) with white piping ($40.). Since we last saw her, Molly has  learned to do a handstand.

All in a Weekend’s Work and Play

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

It’s always a mystery when we open the doors of The Spot for the weekend because we never know who’s going to enter our little world. This past weekend brought us a mix of old friends, fun new customers, an actress, a television personality and a crossword wunderkind.

This lovely lass is Lauren Messing, a young actress who you’ll be able to see this summer in The Electroscheme. She studies acting at NYU (as once did her delightful cousin, Will & Grace’s Debra Messing).  Lauren declared this vintage Fifties white rayon crepe spinworthy dancing dress so laden with rhinestones it has a life of its own ($100.). was the dress she had to have, and we  found it hard to disagree.

So the next time you spot a sparkling vision in white gliding up the red carpet at the Emmys or Oscars, take a close look – it may very well be Lauren, in her stunning new dress.

We suspect that Kelly Cutrone and Ava Cutrone fall under the classification of a Force of Nature. They burst into the Mystery Spot with a wave of energy and  fun and had us on the floor laughing for half an hour. It took us a while before we even realized that Kelly is a world-famous publicist (People’s Revolution), TV star (MTV’s The Hills and The City, Bravo’s Kell on Earth) and best-selling author; and Ava, well, she may only be eight but she’s well on her way to greatness as well.

Of course, they didn’t come just to entertain us – they came to shop! And so they did – check out Ava’s killer mod 60’s flower power culotte romper ($20.) and NOS 60’s “Celebrity” Miami Beach striped vinyl tote ($20). – just perfect as a carry-all for her new puppy Lola. (And waterproof! A feature which came in handy about 3 minutes after this photo was taken).

Liz Pulos is a dear customer friend. She started out as a loyal Spot customer (and still is!), but she is now officially a Friend. And we couldn’t be happier! When people plan their trips months ahead just to come visit the Mystery Spot, we know we’re onto something good. Liz, Donny and their other friend Liz spent the better part of their vacation weekend here in the shop, and everyone emerged a winner.

Liz didn’t buy this 60s Mad Men Style black-and-white striped NOS ensemble (cocktail dress underneath; bolero jacket on top – $65), but it looked so great on her we just had to take the photos. Don’t you love the hat, purse, and two-toned shoes she picked out?

Liz’s husband Don Undeen went (natch) straight to the record room where he loaded up on some killer jazz vinyl as well as a 1971 copy of Rolling Stone with Miles Davis on the cover ($15.)

Their friend Liz Linstrom was on a lamp quest, and she was most successful! As Liz and this 1950s abstract mauve ceramic lamp with fiberglass shade ($68.) lamp are united for the first time, you can feel the love in the air.

But really, did anyone charm us as much as young Caleb Madison? He asked if we had any old crossword items, and our brain churned a bit and then immediately recovered the latitude and longitude of The Little Folks Cross-Word Puzzle Book circa 1949 ($14.)  which has been suffering in obscurity for at least 8 years in the back of the book room, just waiting for someone like Caleb to come along and rescue it. Caleb was thrilled, we were thrilled, and we suspect Will Shortz will be thrilled as well when he opens his Christmas presents this winter. (Shhh….!)

Caleb is a pretty modest fellow, but we were able to get him to spill that he’s the  youngest person to ever have a crossword published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, at a mere fifteen. (He’s all of seventeen now). And we have some crossword pals in common (shout-out to Andrea Carla Michaels! When are you coming to visit my shop already???)

The Mystery Spot Hearts Artists (and Vice Versa).

Friday, July 16th, 2010

It’s funny how on certain weekends we notice trends. For example, there might be a sudden run on Fifties lamps. Or 60’s soul 45s. Some weekends a parade of musicians stop in. And this past couple of weekends, artists.

Artist Joe Andoe has been a faithful Spot customer for quite a few years now. He always heads straight for the record room, and we must kinda like him, because we allowed him to talk us into selling him our only display copy of Steamin’ with the Miles Davis Quartet right off the wall ($5.). He also picked up a sweet copy of Bill Doggett and his Combo ($10.). Whenever he stops by the shop when we’re closed (more often than not), he sometimes leaves us cool drawings on the backs of record jackets.

Wes Lang has some pretty great tattoos. They really grabbed our attention, and no wonder, he’s an artist himself. He chose this vintage Happy Face mug ($10.). for his official Mystery Spot portrait. Having taken a peek at his latest work at the Zieher Smith Gallery (Smile, It’s a Great Day) we now get it.

Our old friend Amy Arbus and I rose in the ranks together back in the early 80s when we were both young photographers for the Village Voice. My beat was the downtown music scene; hers’ was street fashion, recently collected in a beautiful book, On The Street. She’s not only a great photographer, but one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. And she was very happy to make the acquaintance of Desdemona, The Devil Girl of Phoenicia, The Mystery Spot’s very own mascot (NFS).

Marc Rubin and Ina Kozel have an amazing studio a few miles down the road from the Spot. Ina’s silk paintings are breathtaking, and Marc creates alternate universes in his workshop. Marc is also the dude who custom built the beautiful record bins in our vinyl room for which we will forever be grateful. Ina took home this vintage “French Ivory” hand mirror ($7.) which is neither French nor Ivory, as it turns out. But still nice.