Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From wigs to veggies on East 14th Street

For the past few months, we noticed that the Royal Wigs shop was never open on East 14th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue... sure enough, in recent weeks, a few readers have spotted workers inside gutting the space... such as this one via LvV...



...and from Dave of 14th Street...



Dave said that it has been on the block the 15 years he has lived nearby ...

Before getting into history ... as for the future: A tipster tells us that it will be a vegetarian restaurant selling items that include wraps and sushi.

As for the past... like, Dave, it seems like the place has always been there. Does anyone know any of the store's history?

We came across an alt.rock country band called The Royal Wigs, who took their name from the store. According to the band's bio, the store "was frequented by such famous NYC denizens as Lou Reed, the New York Dolls, and Vivienne Westwood." Not sure about the merits of these claims ... though we like the thought of, say, Arthur Kane rummaging around in here one day years back ...

In any event, the storefront was always photogenic ... Here's a shot by Goggla...



...and via LuciaM on Panoramio...

17 comments:

Jeremiah Moss said...

oh no, i loved that wig shop! it had the rare man wig. it also helped to keep this part of the block funky. this stinks.

blue glass said...

i think there were once two wig stores on the bloc. and in the fifties it was unusual to see wigs of so many bright colors.
i remember at least one way back when i was a teenager.
there was also an interesting dress store where the dresses bore the names of famous actresses - the jane russell, the marilyn monroe, the rita hayworth. etc.
while it was not the safest block in the world, it did have great stores.
the meatball factory was a drugstore with a soda fountain.

JAZ said...

Second row - far left; Pretty sure that's Lady Gaga

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious about the history of this place too - I would imagine most of their "retail/costume" wig business went out the window when Ricky's came on the scene.

LvV said...

It's really sad. Royal Wigs, Beauty Bar, and the Russian souvenirs shop seem to belong together, and I worry more than ever that that whole side of the block is going to be ruined.

Although I will say I'm happy that it's vegetarian food that's coming, and not more effing burgers, booze, and/or bacon.

sigh

Marty Wombacher said...

Wig stores have always intrigued me and I hate to see this one close.

BabyDave said...

LvV -- I'm with you. Never bought a wig, but I'll miss the window display. Must but a Russian souvenir soon.

BabyDave said...

that's "buy" a Russian souvenir.

Pinch said...

Funny, walked by here this morning and thought it looked like a place that was going to sell wall paint and wall molding.

Goggla said...

Noooo! I have several wigs from this shop and loved shopping in there. Sigh.

I fear for the Russian Souvenir Shop. Anyone who hasn't been in there should check it out now. The place is like a time capsule and the proprietor loves to talk. It's an experience in itself.

BabyDave said...

Will do, Goggla.

esquared™ said...

Jeremiah has more on the Russian Souvenir shops

http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2009/12/russian-souvenirs.html

So go, go, go, before it becomes a StarDuaneBucks7ChaseReade11.

Jeremiah Moss said...

that Russian place is a crazy time capsule indeed. and the man who runs it is very old. go soon.

Fipper said...

I haven't been in the Russian Souvenir shop since i was in high school (!) Back then i would love going in there. Yes, definitely have to go soon.

Jill said...

That wig store has been there ever since I can remember, which dates back to the early 80's when I spent a lot of time around Stuyvesant HS when it was on 15th St.

This place fascinated my son when he was little, always wanting to have colorful wigs and imagining interesting costumes for halloween. Unfortunately back then we were too broke to indulge in a 6 year old's fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Hey - the wig store doesn't go THAT far back - charming as it is/was - late 70's/early 80's before it was a wig store, it served a brief time as a second-hand bookstore (I remember - I worked there - for free books and no money!) - the owner, a young guy, Alan, who ran the store, had a connection to a bunch of books but absolutely no idea and no interest really in selling them (and no market, I guess!) - it wasn't however (you'd kind of thought it would be) a front for anything - and Harry had the second-hand jewellery store (hole-in-the-wall) next door, anybody remember him? - and
the blind guy (was he a blind guy?) who used to always be walking by, just part of the never-ending pavement action
- halcyon days on 14th Street - Russian store notwithstanding, long gone

Joe Black said...

As a member of the alt.country rock band mentioned in the blog, this really saddens me. I must've walked and/or rode the M14D right by that place twice a day for years. That it's turning into a sushi restaurant is, perhaps, indicative of what's going on (and BEEN going on) all over the EV. It's NYC...I guess nothing lasts forever. --Joe Black.