Family members of Adrian Gilboe shared the following...
Longtime East Village figure Adrian Gilboe, who was in his 50s, passed away on Sept. 29.
In the early 1990s, Adrian opened the antique store Wandering Dragon Trading Co. at 263 E. 10th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue. The store later became Obscura Antiques & Oddities, which has since relocated to Avenue A.
Wandering Dragon was known for being home to some of the neighborhood’s most eccentric characters. Adrian had a unique style and eye for the obscure that was ahead of its time. He was a dramatic, generous, smart and charming enigma that seemed to live in another era entirely.
Adrian grew up in Manhattan and began collecting just about everything at a young age. As a teenager, he would break into abandoned buildings set to be demolished and salvage everything from door knobs and light fixtures, to bone saws and anatomical models. Much of his life was spent fixing up and finding an appreciation for the discarded; he was a pioneer in his avid collecting of the unusual.
Most notably, Adrian offered a window into a secret and wonderful world of oddities.
[Adrian, Sierra and Tinton]
Said East Village resident David Wolen:
The Wandering Dragon Trading Company was an amazingly strange and impossibly tiny store in the East Village. It was NEVER open but we would walk by all the time and stare in the windows at the weird antiques, taxidermy, wax mannequin heads, glass eyeballs, and skulls. One night we were coming home from a bar at 3 o’clock in the morning and the door was open and 1920s jazz was playing inside. We went in and entered the magical world of Adrian Gilboe.
The store was a constant array of characters wandering in an out, street people, artists, writers, occasional celebrities and celebrities to be. A lot of weirdos! Although rarely open, it was never dull.
This article from The New York Times in 1991 describes Adrian’s unique aesthetic and love of items rich with history.
His daughter, Sierra, will be hosting an informal memorial tomorrow (Oct. 22). Those who knew Adrian are welcome to stop by and share their memories. Please email her here if you’d like more details about the memorial.