Many in-the-know New Yorkers are familiar with Queens graffiti mecca 5 Pointz, but very few are privy to the new thrift shop that recently opened up right next to it. Dubbed The Fancy Fox (after a dapperly dressed fox figurine that owner Carolina Penafiel has had for years), the small jewel of a store boasts pre-loved treasures that are just as colorful and unique as the tagged art that covers the walls of the famous building it resides in. Despite its somewhat hidden location, word has been getting out about the shop's closely curated selection of clothing, accessories, books and art. We recently had to chance to visit The Fancy Fox, and check out its cleverly recycled shipping pallet interior. Click through our gallery to take your own tour, and don't forget to visit in person before everyone else finds out about it!
Even though she obviously has a knack for it, Penafiel wasn’t always in the thrifting business. She is also the director of Local Project, a Long Island City arts non-profit. She originally came up with the idea to start a thrift shop in Local Project’s existing space as a way to raise funds for the organization, while also indulging in her passion for beautiful secondhand clothing and objects. Penafiel was visiting Film Biz Recycling, a Gowanus store that resells used film props, when the inspiration first struck her. “I just thought ‘This is what I want!'” she told us.
Penefiel admitted to us that at first she felt a bit overwhelmed with the shop, but luckily her business partner, Katherine Consuelo, has been able to offer some guidance. Consuelo is no stranger to the ins and outs of running a thrift shop, having previously worked at several secondhand stores in Manhattan.
The Fancy Fox has its entrance at 45-10 Davis Street in Long Island City, and on the day we visited, graffiti artists could be seen on ladders adding to the outer facade of the building. Inside, shoppers can find everything from a 70s-style fondue set to old records to colored glassware to brand name vintage handbags (we picked up a Dior clutch for just $35). Unlike some of the other New York City vintage shops, price inflation seemed to be kept to a minimum and many items were available for just $5. “There are prices here for everyone,” said Penafiel.
Many of The Fancy’s Fox’s wares are also made of upcycled materials. These fun lamps are made by artist Christian Torres out of old pipes right in the shop’s back room.
The secondhand shop‘s inherently sustainable nature is also reflected in its decor, which consists largely of recycled shipping pallets. A friend of Penafiel outfitted the store’s walls with a stylish and utilitarian system made of reused pallets, and even created two movable cubicles out of the recycled materials so that the layout of the space could be reconfigured based on need. “We call it the Mottainai room,” explained Penafiel. “Mottainai means ‘What a waste’ in Japanese.”
If you’ve got some special items in your closet that you no longer wear but want to see go to a good home, The Fancy Fox is currently looking for donations also. They can arrange pick-ups and drop-offs, and donations are tax deductible. To see the Fancy Fox’s hours today, please visit their Facebook page here.