By Karilyn Prisco
Fireplace, a consignment store and “functional art hub” has opened at 409 Bleecker Street despite the freezes and closures of neighboring boutiques. To those who reminisce about the Bleecker Street of yore, rejoice! Fireplace is employee-owned by a team of New Yorkers in their twenties—a stylist and an artist are among them.
Emily Bogner, the co-owner who specializes in fashion, reports: “Fireplace is where you come to see cutting-edge art and clothing. We showcase independent creators who will probably be new to your eyes, and we completely change what products we hold each month.”
At 409 Bleecker Street, Fireplace’s 1,000 square-foot storefront is well-positioned, directly across the street from the Bleecker Playground’s adjacent park. But at each corner of the block on Bleecker Street is a closed boutique with a sign reading, “Back in the spring.”
The team behind Fireplace admits that they would not have been able to negotiate a Bleecker Street location if there hadn’t been a pandemic. Their hope is to make shopping as contact-free as possible while providing an extra incentive for customers to enter through the display of art.
Fireplace’s “Contact-Free Opening Event” took place on January 16, 2021. A maximum of three guests were allowed inside at once, and RSVPs were honored first. The prices listed were mostly consistent with what their high-end neighbors are comfortable with, but there were also some more affordable options, as well as higher ticket artworks. I loved the variety of designers I was able to see, many of whom were new to me, such as Mia Vesper, Sequence Studio, One Go fashion collector, and toymaker Green Plastic Tunnels.
Inside the store you circle around a carousel of clothing in the middle, both new and collectible. To the right is a shelf holding various pottery, toys, jewelry, and sculpture, and along the west wall is a small gallery of prints and paintings. Each brand or artist is clearly demarcated with a plaque that displays their name and can be scanned to link to more information on the Fireplace website.
Duncan Figurski, design consultant at Fireplace, has this to say:
“It’s a shame so many outlets for culture have grinded to a halt, we want to create a safe new way for local creatives to show and market their stuff.”
It is so refreshing to once again see local artists and creators in a storefront on Bleecker Street. Over the years, so much of the street had been taken over by mini Fifth Avenue, high-end, designer stores used as real estate props in order to claim “cool” downtown NYC addresses. These stores were usually empty with the exception of the expensive merchandise they housed. One would be considered lucky if they spotted more than two people that weren’t employees or security guards. I can only hope that Bleecker Street’s local flavor and charm is on a boomerang path, returning back to its small business roots.
On February 13th Fireplace will be hosting their second event, which will feature a dance workshop for solo choreography. The idea is that dancers who have not been able to receive public feedback will be able to show their work through the storefront window. The event will be live-streamed and can be watched from outside or across the street in the park.
While their message of “redefining retail in 2021” does seem lofty, these kids are taking a chance that, as a local, I’d really like to see succeed. You may visit their website www.fireplace409.com to shop online, or schedule an in-person meeting on their Instagram account at @fireplace409.