The shops at Antique Row have long been a fixture of the Binghamton area, drawing in generations of visitors and community members. For students north of Main Street, the shops are just a short walk away from home, making them a viable stop for home decor, furniture and unique holiday gifts. Each shop fills its own niche within the strip, and it’s easy to spend a whole afternoon chatting with proprietors and enjoying the unique personality of every collection. To get a feel for the shops before you visit, check out Pipe Dream’s guide to the people, places and treasures of Antique Row.
With its curtained storefront, carefully arranged displays and homey wooden furniture, a trip to Yesteryear is like stepping into a parlor from the past. Binghamton native Joan Bullock has been in the antique business for 45 years, opening this storefront 16 years ago. The shop sells furniture, housewares, buttons, dolls and more, mainly classic pieces with touches of whimsy sprinkled throughout the collection. Notable highlights include a Minnie Mouse table built locally in 1935, a Symphion music box from 1890 and a homemade instrument made from a vintage cigar box, built by Bullock’s son-in-law. While some of the larger pieces might seem out of reach for a college student, a thorough search yields some affordable finds — one box, tucked away near a table, is filled with quirky old postcards for prices as low as $3.
99 Clinton Street Antiques
This family-owned business, established at Clinton Street 12 years ago, is home to a furniture repair shop as well as an antique shop. Binghamton native Julie Sauger, an independent collector for many years before she opened the storefront with her brother-in-law, curates the shop’s antique selection. The shop features two antique showrooms. One resembles a garage stocked with jackets, holiday decor and furniture; the other could pass for a quirky aunt’s living room: the homey, furnished space is filled with board games, housewares, records, children’s books and toys. A huge glass case at the front desk displays a glittering array of classic and eccentric jewelry. Sauger said the shop carries an especially large number of midcentury modern pieces, items from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s that she describes as “vintage” as opposed to “antique.” Binghamton University students might recognize some items from their own childhood — some of the glasses, for example, feature television characters from shows like “Pokemon” and “Casper.”
Old, Odd and Unique
Old, Odd and Unique grew from the personal collection of Cleveland native Laddie Vana, who moved to Binghamton for a job at IBM in the late 1970s and opened the shop shortly after his retirement in 1993. Eager to spend his money on something more interesting than a “hangover from the bar,” Vana began collecting small pieces to share with friends and pass along. What started as a hobby grew into an ever-growing stock of oddities, curated from antiques shows, flea markets and other collectors. The store interior is an organized chaos: Vintage tools, lamps, instruments, housewares, cookbooks and trinkets fill glass cabinets and share cramped space on tables. The overflowing room next door is home to a similarly strange fare: mannequins, playground toys, hanging birdcages and a giant crayon. Frequented by BU students and faculty, the space is aesthetically interesting enough to have been featured in a few student films during Vana’s tenure at the storefront. Vana said he appreciates the flow of BU students through his doors, many of them looking for secondhand instruments, decorations and fodder for art projects.
“A lot of young folks seem to like it here, they have such an appreciation,” Vana said. “They’re very optimistic and inquisitive, I love it.”