When the need for a one-of-a-kind item arises, the retailer Olde Good Things certainly has it. Stained glass from the John F. Kennedy International Airport? Got it. Fixtures and flatware from the Waldorf-Astoria? Yep.
For more than 25 years now, Olde Good Things has provided people with unique items – many from historic New York buildings – and it has enough to go around for a long time.
“I have enough stock for the next couple hundred years,” says Jim DiGiacoma, one of the founders. Olde Good Things is an employee owned and operated company.
Olde Good Things got its start in the mid 90s, selling architectural pieces such as door knobs at the Chelsea Antique Market in New York. It then opened a store in Brooklyn, before relocating to Manhattan where – like many New Yorkers – it has moved around a lot since then. Its newest location opened in Oct. 2020 on West 52nd Street; it also has locations on the Lower East Side and the Upper West Side, as well as a store in Los Angeles and an online shop. And, for the brave, there’s also a multi-story antique department store and warehouse in Scranton, Pa., jam packed with items that haven’t been processed yet. “You have to be able to recognize a diamond in the rough,” says DiGiacoma, who is also the manager of the newest location.
Walking the West 52nd Street store – itself stocked floor to ceiling – DiGiacoma can point to every item and tell one exactly what building it came from. Currently, the store has an abundance of items from the Waldorf-Astoria New York, now undergoing a renovation. Olde Good Things procured what DiGiacoma estimated was about 30 truckloads from the iconic hotel, a 42-story-tall, city-block-wide building, and that included 2,000 lighting fixtures and more than 200 fireplace mantels. “It was a lot of inventory all at once,” DiGiacoma said.
Then there are items from the JFK airport. Besides stained glass from artist Robert Sowers, the retailer had – until recently – about a dozen eight-foot-long industrial lighting fixtures that were in the American Airlines terminal. “Lighting is our biggest single area right now,” DiGiacoma said. “It’s hard keeping up with demand.”
The merchandise could not be more eclectic, from a $175,000 solid-bronze room divider (originally from a public safety building in Syracuse, N.Y., and weighing 6,500 pounds) to a 1920’s traveling trunk wardrobe to a 19th century wooden cabinet from a textile mill in New England to still many, many doorknobs.
Focused on architectural deconstruction, Olde Good Things uses finesse when removing items from site to keep them as pristine as possible. It also occasionally alters some antiques to create new items. Window frames from the Flatiron Building and 230 Fifth Avenue, for example, were remade into mirrors. Its unique assortment has also been rented out for weddings, movies and television shows.
“It’s great we can give stuff a new life,” DiGiacoma said. “Antiques have always been about recycling.” And to have an item that used to be a window frame from an iconic building, such as the Flatiron, is pretty cool, he adds.