Monday, March 14, 2011

Leaving Astoria for the land of budget electric chairs

It was fairly beautiful in New York this weekend. Temperatures almost up to the 60s. All I needed was a light jacket and a park to walk around in and my weekend was set. Of course, after spending most of the weekend outside, my cold of the last few weeks seems to have flared up with a vengeance, so perhaps almost 60 isn't light jacket weather after all. Thanks goodness for cough drops. I'm finding that they always seem to taste less like "harvest peach" and "100% pure wildflower honey" and more like menthol, but at least I'm annoying my co-workers slightly less with my constant coughing.

This weekend, I left the gentle embrace of an Astorian Saturday and took a nice long ride on the N train down to Brooklyn. The reason for my borough betrayal? The hunt for cheap furniture. I read about the Film Biz Prop Shop in New York Magazine's recent "Best of New York" issue. Basically, its a thrift store full of cast-off props from movie, tv show, and music video shoots. As I have a new apartment coming up that needs a couple of pieces (mainly a small desk/table and possibly a coffee table), it seemed worth a trip. After all, IKEA furniture is cheap and great for frequent moves because you don't get too attached to it if it doesn't fit in your new place, but it is always nice to have a piece of furniture with a story. Or at least one people don't immediately shout out the Swedish name for as soon as they walk in your door, because they have the same $10 coffee table in their apartment.

To readers who live in New York, I would highly recommend a trip to the Film Biz Prop Shop. Although, I didn't buy anything (this was mostly just a research mission), I did find a lot of really cool items. They have a scale model of an electric chair for $500, a bunch of working typewriters, a scale model of the human brain, not to mention tons of things you might actually want to buy! Situated just out of smelling distance of the Gowanus Canal, the Prop Shop is located through a back fence, down a basement hallway, into the 11,000 foot show room. Short of putting up a "no trespassing" sign, I don't think they could make their entrance look less like an entrance. Definitely one of those places you need to know is there before going.

I would have gotten so many more and better pictures if I hadn't left my camera memory card at home, yet again. The Iphone doesn't capture the magnitude of the space well, but look at all the lamps!

In addition to having a great deal of nice, quirky furniture and housewares, there was also a full aisle of props for rather specific purposes, thoughtfully organized into boxes. This would definitely be a fine place to go for party decorations as they had a box for virtually very holiday or celebration. Also, if you're in the market for some fake food for your low-budget stage play, I know a great place to start.

I won't draw too much attention to this one because my grandmother sometimes reads my blog (Hi, Grandmother!), but this should give you an idea of some of the unique props and array of oddities for purchase.

Overall, even though I returned empty-handed (again, something I consider a good thing as if I bought anything now, it would be one more thing I would have to move in a couple of weeks), I had a lot of fun exploring this shop. Other than being located outside of Astoria, I have nothing but positive things to say about Film Biz.


  1. That sounds like a way cool place! It would be awesome to have a history behind your furniture.

  2. Just think, you might be able to buy a desk that James Franco had leaned on!