Vintage Voyager: Hudson, NY

By Kelly Spicer

Hudson is one of the top destinations in the Hudson Valley for great vintage and antique shopping, and is home to over 40 businesses that make up the Hudson Antiques & Art Dealers Association (HAADA). HAADA credits Hudson’s antique stores with “saving Hudson’s main street” and resurrecting the “largely boarded-up Warren Street of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.” Over the last few decades what started as a small group of stores has grown into a renowned antique and vintage shopping destination.

Upon arrival, I ventured over to Rivertown Lodge for a delicious brunch of hazelnut granola, with cardamom greek yogurt, and rhubarb jam, a Rivertown Mary (their version of a Bloody Mary) and a cup of Tandem coffee. Rivertown Lodge also serves as a hotel and is conveniently located in the center of town on Warren Street. Opened in 2015 after owner Ray Pirkle and Kim Bucci purchased and renovated the 40-year-old Warren Inn Motel, the space is inviting and impeccably designed. Pirkle and Buccie brought together a team of local artisans to craft the space: Hudson resident Rowland Butler built the kitchen space, Rhinebeck furniture maker Sawkille provided lobby and guest room furniture, and artwork by Warwick-raised artist Gordon Hull adorn many spaces throughout the hotel.

After a relaxing breakfast, it was time to hit the shops!

First up on our excursion- Sideshow Hudson (707 Warren St). Owner Meri Avratin opened Sideshow in 2009 in Sheffield, MA, before moving to Hudson in 2010. Avratin was inspired to name her store for the circus sideshows of the early 20th century, hoping to create a store where “people who are different or on the fringe could find community.” The interior of Side Show is vibrant and fun, with brightly colored garments contrasting against the retro black and white checkerboard floor. The vibe is alternative, with rockabilly and punk influences- think hats and t-shirts with tongue-in-cheek phrases, cowboy boots, lacy Victorian and Edwardian undergarments, 30s, 40s, and 50s gowns, and ornately embroidered pieces from the 60s and 70s. Meri is extremely knowledgeable of store inventory and was quick to recommend other items similar to my own selections. An added bonus? Avratin’s dog Arrow was an adorable on-site shopping assistant.

Two doors down from Sideshow, husband and wife duo Ian and Marie Chambers run Look Apparel (703 Warren St). The pair met on eBay in 2002 after Marie sold Ian a Yohji Yamamoto shirt, leading to an in-person meet-up, followed by a few dates, and finally marriage! In 2010, they opened their storefront after running a successful eBay store together since 2003. The store is light and airy with a “highly focused selection of men’s and women’s clothing” and color-coordinated displays of “funky and unusual vintage jewelry and accessories.” Ian has an extensive collection of early Reggae records, and as such the sounds of Millie Smalls, Desmond Dekker & The Aces, and Dave & Ansel Collins fill the space. In the wintertime, they frequently offer hot apple cider to warm customers from the cold. Look Apparel specializes in archival and vintage clothing from the 1980s to the present, focusing on a very specific niche of designers such as Comme des Garcons, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Katherine Hamnett. Marie jokes that they could be considered a “Barney’s archive,” and their penchant for high quality and limited edition pieces reflects that.