There’s only one way to learn New York City street style — and that’s from a New Yorker. Which is why two Big Apple natives hope to spread the good word at Vintage on 46th, now open in the newly relaunched Paramount Hotel on W46th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.
The nostalgic shop operated by vintage veterans Peter Mauceri of Fresh Kills Vintage and Joshua Martinez of Future Past NYC offers longtime locals and visitors a place to source top-notch 80s, 90s and 2000s (yes, the 2000s are vintage!) duds, expertly curated by the pair.
They hope to provide a friendly, informed fashion education to newcomers seeking throwback street style, as well as welcome fellow thrifting enthusiasts with open arms. The focus is on a New York look, with vintage on show — including Wu-Tang merch, Yankees and Knicks wear and even some stylish Spiderman.
“We want to be a staple in the neighborhood,” said Peter. “We want to become one of those shops that has regulars who live down the block and come and talk shop with us.
“Being here in Hell’s Kitchen is the best of both worlds,” he added. “We get to educate tourists and give them a New York experience, but also get to grow the vintage scene in this area for locals”. With a hat tip to fellow neighborhood vintage professionals Matt Fox and Enrique Crame III of Fine and Dandy — “They’ve had a great reputation in the area for a long time, and we send people over to them,” said Peter – they hope to develop the West Side’s vintage landscape into one rivaling the Lower East Side or Bushwick.
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“I feel like we manifested this space,” said Joshua. “We really wanted to open something in a hotel space in an area with lots of tourism — where we can help them learn about New York City’s vintage scene.” The duo is committed to fair and accessible pricing, and avoiding the hype-beast-tourist-trap label at all costs. “We don’t want people to come to New York and come away thinking, ‘Oh, I got ripped off,’” Joshua added. “There’s a stereotype that everything here is super overpriced, and we want to be really competitively priced. We’re not trying to rob anyone and we want to help leave people with a good taste in their mouth from the experience.”
For the partners, teaching others New York City swagger comes naturally. As native New Yorkers, Peter and Joshua grew up traversing the five boroughs in search of the perfect sneaker or throwback jersey. “I’ve been hustling yard sales for as long as I can remember,” said Joshua. “I always wanted to find something that nobody else had.” Peter added, “Fashion is my outlet, New York City street style has captivated all my attention since I was in fourth grade.”
While managing a skating apparel store in Staten Island, Peter took his personal passion to work, convincing his boss to let him list a few vintage items at the shop. The line took off, and after three years of curating the collection, aptly named Fresh Kills Vintage, he met a kindred spirit in Joshua, who had by now started his own collection, Future Past NYC. “He came in to the store and had a bunch of crazy stuff on him, rare T-shirts and sneakers that you never see. My manager introduced us and the rest is history,” said Peter.
The two began collaborating, setting up joint pop-up shops over the past six years and trading events like East Coast Connection, gathering New York City’s and the world’s foremost vintage vendors together to sell in a market setting. The cohort gained enough of a reputation to catch the eye of the Paramount Hotel team, who were looking for new retail space as part of their reopening launch.
Setting up a large-scale, permanent, themed inventory was a welcome challenge for Peter and Joshua, who were used to sourcing 80s, 90s and 2000s items for their personal collections. “We were both really collectors first,” said Peter. “Items from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s are what we were accustomed to growing up, and it’s now becoming hip and trendy again. I’ve been building up a large storage of this kind of stuff, without necessarily planning to sell it.”
And as they prepare to sell through years of previously-curated duds, the increasing popularity of clothes from the decades could make replacing stock another test. “The last few years, the interest has saturated and it’s definitely gotten more difficult,” Peter said. “Over the last five years we’ve all been forced to get a little more strategic with our purchasing,” added Josh. “It’s not as affordable as it once was.”
Both agreed that establishing a rapport with customers is the easy part of the job. “I was a collector first, so I love to talk about and sell stuff that I really love and am connected to,” said Joshua. “I’m a comic book T-shirt collector, and I love when someone picks up a Marvel shirt – it’s great to talk about a piece when you’re really passionate about it.” He hopes that as “a bit of an outsider from Staten Island,” working out of Hell’s Kitchen will allow him to grow his own roots in the neighborhood. “I’m excited to learn more about the history of the hotel, find the best spots in the neighborhood, and geek out a little bit.”
“I’m excited about the energy in the neighborhood,” said Peter. “We’ve met locals who’ve already told us these amazing stories from living in the area for 10 or 20 years, and we’re just soaking it up. I hope we’ll even meet some local people who have collections themselves that we can buy from.”
“It’s all about the connections we make here,” added Joshua. “We want to plant seeds here and make ties with people from all over the world. I think that giving people a little bit of vintage knowledge and a good deal leaves them with a long-lasting memory.”
Vintage on 46th is located at 235 W46th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenue and is now soft open Wednesday through Sunday 11am -7pm. Follow their Instagram for more details on the grand opening December 2 and 3.