Third Ave at 70th in front of Gracious Home
approximately 1:00 pm until 6:30 (or dark)
every nice day except when at an antiques show
Rising rents are forcing many dealers out of their shops and, presumably, out of Manhattan. Seventeen years ago, Olivia Garay went on the offensive: she shuttered her store, took out a vendor's licsense, and now sells her pricey designer and estate jewelry right out on the sidewalk.
The day I stumbled upon her cart, a Very Famous Actress was avidly presuing the goods. I didn't recognize her until I took a photo of Garay's table and the woman recoiled. Later, Garay asked me not to expose her identity (there goes my first sale to the tabloids, sob) but told me that whenever she's in New York from Paris, the film star makes it a point to stop by, with her loup, and shop. Apparently, the table attracts a number of other wealthy and famous patrons.
"Cartier, Bulgari, Tiffany, Chanel–I sell the real thing," Garay said, pointing to items in her haphazardly-heaped display boxes. "Everything from one dollar to ten-thousand dollars." From her pocket she pulled a diamond bracelet that hit the high end of her price scale, something she was reserving for just the right customer.
The obvious question is: does she feel safe? Apparently she gets asked that a lot, because she was ready with an answer before it was out of my mouth. She never feels threatened, she said, because it's a good neighborhood. The Upper East Side doesn't attract thieves? But, as she pulled a credit card machine out and swiped a customer's platinum American Express Card, I didn't have the heart to press the matter.
If a heist doesn't happen first, look for Olivia Garay on the NW corner of Third Avenue at 70th Street. She's there every nice day that doesn't happen to conflict with an antiques show, where she also sells. There's a 10% discount if you make a purchase and mention this site.