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Lady, Where Have You Been?

05.15.2008

Me and My Begonia

Pardon my absence, I had new floors drama. The new floors look beautiful, but unfortunately the drama continues (welcome to co-op living in NYC).

In brighter news, I have also upgraded my balcony, and as the picture above suggests, I am blogging from my new comfortable balcony seating right now!

I have done a little work on my book project, but I don’t have pictures and I am too comfortable to get up ans take some (read: new chairs are comfy). When more progress has been made I will share them. Besides, I really wanted to write about B. Shackman Toys…

When I was about nine years old my mother moved to Chelsea, a neighborhood in Manhattan deemed rather undesirable at the time. I won’t go into details, but Chelsea has become much fancier. Although the neighborhood has gained a lot in the last two decades, it has lost a bit too. One of the great losses was B. Shackman Toys, located on the northeast corner of 16th Street and Fifth Avenue. The company was founded in 1898 and I think may have been in that space for just as long. The front room was filled with scraps, cards, books and reproductions of old novelty toys. The back room was filled with candy. It was a small wonderland in an otherwise quiet neighborhood.

In high school, I owned a top hat as big as the Mad Hatter’s, and it was no surprise I bought up all sorts of Shackman’s Alice in Wonderland novelties. I also bought Winnie the Pooh paper dolls and actual penny candy.

Now it is an Anthropolgie – a wonderland of oddly priced apparel in its own right – but I was really missing my B. Shackman’s Toys this morning. So I did what I often do, I called my mom to ask a question. “Mom, did Shackman’s move or go out of business?” Out of business was the answer.

I did not want to believe that Shackman’s was truly gone so I googled it. Turns out, that although I will never be able to stare at the bins and displays of reproductions and penny candy again, I will can still purchase B. Shackman’s products. They are online! You do have to save your pennies though – with a minimum purchase of $100. I will say that I will not partake in occasional shopping at $100 a pop Shackman’s, but I will say I have enough projects in mind that I did so today!

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