Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 6:31PM
With word emerging that the vintage kitch shop Under the Pig, on Fifth Avenue between 4th and 5th, would be closing at the end of the month, I had to drop by and pay my respects. Here's its story.
About 20 years ago North Carolina native Troy Files was employed as a flight attendant, and on the weekends he'd indulge his passion for vintage items by traveling to auctions, flea markets, and estate sales and stocking up. He soon quit his day job and started selling his wares at flea markets, and in 1993 he found the perfect brick and mortar location, at 76 East First St, right by First Avenue. For unknown reasons, a giant painting of a pig was on the wall firectly above the shop, so he rationally named it Under the Pig (the cop who lived in the building was only slightly offended).
|The first store, with titular pig|
The following year a fire ravaged the building, so he packed up and moved to a location on Ludlow Street. After a couple years he moved the store to the neighborhood where he lived, Park Slope. The first location here was on 7th Street near 7th Avenue, but he was forced to move when Purity Diner snatched it up to expand their kitchen. His next stop was on Seventh between 13th and 14th, but after 3 years the rent doubled so he moved the shop to his current location.
For the past eight years Files and his partner have traveled almost every week to some of the best flea markets on the eastern seaboard, and he's kept his shop stocked with a regularly rotating inventory of just about every kind of tchotchke you can imagine, from framed portraits to glassware to old signs and records. You could drop by on Monday and find something that wasn't there the previous Friday.
Over the past several months family obligations have made it nearly impossible to maintain that schedule, and recently he made the decision to pack it up for good. The decision was entirely his; Files says that the landlord has been nothing but great, even though there's a chance that the rent would have gone up when his lease expires in April.
So if you have a chance before the end of January, head on over to Under the Pig and let Troy show you around. You might even find something that you want to buy; most of the inventory is currently 1/3 or 1/2 off.
Under The Pig Collectibles, 355A Fifth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-788-2135. Closed.