This Must Be The Place.

This Must Be The Place.

. 10 min read

‘This Must Be The Place’ is a feature where PrimeCrush-ers share the one special place they love to go.

This Must Be The Place by Lisa Ellex

A little bit about me…

Smack dab in the middle of Miami’s 1980s regentrification boom, I was living in the historic Fontainebleau Hotel where I was rehearsing a musical revue that was soon to open in their nightclub.  The town was by no means the Miami of today but rather a desolate construction site that spread for miles up, down, and around Collins Avenue. The work negatively impacted what was left of local businesses and, with nowhere to go, the cast was confined to the Fontainebleau where we worked, slept, and had three meals a day. To wind down after a long day of rehearsal, I would join the only other female cast member for a cocktail in the hotel lobby bar where male bar patrons assumed we were prostitutes. After we set them straight, the men would ask what we were doing in the hotel.  Not wanting them to know I was performing there, I told them I was an archaeologist (a respectable occupation I secretly fantasized about for years) attending a local convention. This was a partial truth.  You see, my recent move to Miami had turned me into an archaeologist of sorts. With Miami’s heat and humidity making it impossible to engage in outdoor activity on my days off, combined with my limited budget until the show opened, I would spend my leisure time digging through the local thrift shops. And so began my dirty love affair with thrifting. 

The place I love most…

…is the place I unearth the treasure. The Texas Historical Commission describes an archaeologist as “a scientist who studies past peoples and cultures by excavating and examining material.”  As any good archeologist will tell you, many questions are raised when examining unearthed finds. Like the circa mid-80s special edition Chanel purse.  I often wonder what became of the woman who previously owned it. I wonder what she looked like, on what occasion she wore the purse, and what she did for a living in 1986 that afforded her to drop $1700 on something not much larger than a pulp fiction paperback.  I imagine how she would scream if she knew I scored it for (drumroll…) $4.  I wonder, too, about the woman who let go of those Salvatore Ferragamo pumps I snatched for $20, and if they pinched her toes. Could she have purchased them on a honeymoon in Florence? And speaking of Florence, I still mourn for the brown and white palazzo pants I purchased somewhere near Fiesole for 15 Euros in 1993 that went missing after one of my many moves. On that same trip, I was made dizzy when in Zurich I found a circus poster (I collect them) depicting the famed clown, Bello Nock, a seventh-generation circus performer and descendant of the family that founded Switzerland’s famous Circus Nock in the 18th century (I stuffed it in my suitcase and hoped for the best).

The reason I go back…

Like any addict, I’m forever chasing that first high. Once inside a thrift shop I enter a meditative state that blocks out the rest of the world and delivers a delicious serotonin-dopamine-oxytocin cocktail. My fellow thrifters know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s all about the hunt of the haute.

In three words, I’d describe the atmosphere as…

Dank. Dusty. Divine.

If you go there, I’d recommend…

Bringing cash.  Some of the smaller church-affiliated stores (and stores in the middle of nowhere) are “cash only.” Also, check store hours before you arrive.  Some of these stores close early in the day or close on an odd day each week.

Scientific evidence…

Here’s a list of some of my favorite scores paired with a link to the thrift shop (or their Facebook page) where the item was discovered.

Julia Knight mother-of-pearl inlaid 15” bowl ($8)

Found at: The Salvation Army Thrift, East Stroudsburg, PA

Diane von Furstenburg wool dress  ($4)

Found at: Calico Cat Thrift Shoppe, Middletown, NJ

Pristine brown leather Kooba purse ( $10)

Found at: Goodwill Industries of Southern NJ & Philadelphia 

Vintage Michael Kors gray leather bomber jacket ($20)

Found at: The Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center
536 West 46 St.  NYC 

This location is the country’s largest Salvation Army Thrift Store!

The $4 Chanel purse.

As I was leaving the shop the cashier said, “Too bad it’s not real.” (I had it authenticated the very next day.)

Found at: Second Coming Thrift Store, Stroudsburg, PA

Heywood Wakefield coffee table ($5)

Pristine on the outside. Children’s scribbles on the underside made it all the more charming.

Found at: St. Lawrence Barn Sale, Chester, NJ

Fiorucci blouse ($5)

Found at: Jersey Shore Rescue Mission Thrift Store, Asbury Park, NJ

Prada (authenticated) nylon and leather purse ($60)

Found at: St. Luke’s Thrift Shop, 487 Hudson Street, New York, NY

Happy hunting, my friends.  I wish you a delightful dig.

Photo: Shutterstock - Getty Images

This Must Be The Place: A Native New Yorker Shares His Spot in Nantucket That's "Not Stupid Expensive" By Jonathan

A little bit about me…

I am in my 70’s. Native New Yorker. Never really lived anywhere else. I currently have the kind of job that requires me to be on the road a lot — I spent the last fourteen months mostly in Europe, traveling to the U.S. just to see my kids. I have two grown kids - great kids, thank god. Both work in the film industry (as do I) - one in L.A. and one in NYC. As it relates to this specific endeavor, though, you might be interested to know that I am also an Ex’s of Dish. We dated for a couple of years, ending a few years ago. I still think she’s fabulous. Emotionally intelligent and self-aware. Very interesting, always. A great partner.

In the past, I’d go out…

My favorite restaurant - where I regularly took my kids and met up with friends - was always Orsay, on the Upper East Side. It’s near where we lived as a family, before and after my divorce from their Mother.

When things changed…

When my kids grew up. That changed everything. Their Mother and I were divorced long before the kids flew off. I had taken a job in the city in the wake of the divorce that didn’t require travel, in order to be a major part of their lives. So I flew off shortly after they did; started traveling for work again.

I (we) landed…

I have places in L.A. and NYC, mostly because of my kids, but I am never at either for any length of time. Long enough to celebrate a birthday or mark some occasion.

The place I love most…

This isn’t the place I love the most, not by a lot. The place I love the most is New York City. But I am writing about Nantucket, both because I have good memories there (time with kids, and with Dish …) and also because of its unique character, and it relaxes me. Also, I just returned from there.

The reason I go back…

To get away. See friends. Relax. The latest trip was initially driven by work - someone I am trying to do a project with was spending the summer there so I thought, why not.

In one word, I’d describe the atmosphere as…

The way I do it, it’s relaxing. And a mix of people and things. You can be pretty low-key most days, but then you also have the option of throwing a smart jacket over a collared shirt and jeans and going out somewhere swish. When I used to date Dish she liked to put on a sexy summer dress and go out a couple nights a week.

If you go there, I’d recommend…

If you appreciate something more comfortable than trendy or chic, try 29 India House There are much fancier places on the island, like Greydon House, but 29 India House has a very loyal clientele for a reason. And personally, I don’t need to bump into a lot of hyped-up people I do (or don’t) already know doing hyped-up people things. 29 India House has great beds and these quite fancy Toto toilets that do every imaginable thing for you. It is in a great location on a quiet street in town at a reasonable price (for Nantucket). The best thing about the place is that it is lovingly run (and owned) by the wonderfully charming Forrest Smith. Spring for The Garden Room (an extra $50/night) because you’ll have your own separate entrance. It’s $400-500 in season.

Anything else..?

Go to Black-Eyed Susan’s for dinner. It was an island institution, closed for a bit, then the long-time chef Todd Edwards evidently bought it out. I loved it. I love sitting at the counter and watching Tom and his sous-chef prepare all the meals. It is a tiny, inviting, unpretentious place and not stupidly expensive. It’s BYOB and more about the food and simple, honest ambience. I like the lemon ricotta pancake and chicken paillard, but they have more creative items for those who are more daring eaters than I. Besides the two cooking in the kitchen, there are two waitresses for eight tables inside (there are an additional four outside and eight-to-ten seats at the bar).

One more thing, if you want to experience Nantucket at its best go during the period starting on Labor Day to the third week of October. Avoid it in July and the first couple of weeks in August if you can.

Bob Guccione, Jr’s Upstate New York Escape

A little bit about me…
I’m in my 60s, but you wouldn’t know it to look at me! You’d probably think much older. Baby Boomer and proud of it, FYI. I publish the travel site WONDERLUST and I work almost every day. Not quite as proud of that…

In the past, I’d go out…
All hours of the night. I published the rock ‘n roll magazine SPIN and being out ‘til dawn was part of the job description. I loved working on the magazine and deep, late nightlife was all that was available for socializing and decompressing. I lived in New York City when that was exciting and still a bit wild. And authentic places were just there because people wanted them to be there. Not every experience was sponsored or, thank God, embalmed on social media. Now every square inch of the city seems to be corporatized and commodified.

When things changed…
I was born in NYC and grew up in London, before returning to America in the early ‘70s. I lived in NY for almost four decades, and one day I was just over it. My partner too. We wanted a simpler, quieter life. We were done with the relentless, pounding surf of life in NY.

I (we) landed…
In the countryside, outside the big city, living in the woods, up a mountain, surrounded by waterfalls and wild animals. (The four-legged kind, as opposed to the two-legged kind in NY that I once found so thrilling.)

The place I love most…
My favorite place to go, to stay for a few days, or just go to the pool, or just go for dinner and drinks, sometimes without the dinner, is The Blue Fox Motel in Narrowsburg, upstate, Sullivan County, New York. It’s an immaculately restored former-campground / former motel now boutique oasis, about two hours and twelve hundred light years outside Manhattan, completely surrounded by beautiful, sky piercing forest. I’ve known one of the owners, Jorge Nevis, since he first had his downtown NYC restaurant, Pao!. My girlfriend and I had one of our first dates there — her choice — over 19 years ago.

The reason I go back…
Well, see above. But more specifically, there is a time-slowing peacefulness on the property, no matter which part you’re staying in, or if you are just there for a summertime al fresco dinner, or a cozy, fireplace-warmed and lit wintertime dinner. I love the restaurant. The food is of course great, but, again, specially, somehow time slows. And it’s always full of happy looking people! That can’t be a coincidence. The staff are friendly and the place pulls off that unique chemistry of being sophisticated and excellent, and country real and casual.

In one word, I’d describe the atmosphere as…

If you go there, I’d recommend…
Even though they make a mean burger, and chicken, and fish, I’d recommend all of the Portuguese dishes, because they’re just spectacular. Try the flaming chorizo, the cod cakes and the curiously named chicken lollipop appetizers. I always tell them they should bring more of the old Pao! classics. But no-one listens to me, hahaha! Ever.

They make the best Negroni I’ve ever drunk. I’ve had about nine hundred there to confirm that.

How to get there…
You have to drive! C’mon, it’s a motel! You drive, you park there — not outside your room, they mercifully did away with that — you stay, or you go for dinner and drink too much and stay.
This place is packed in the summer—with excellent reason. So, book ahead. for info and reservations.

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend! And I'd love to have you join us on instagram, facebook & twitter.

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