Photos and text by Daniel Efram
In our ever-changing neighborhood, during an era of constant discussion surrounding the influx of short-lived businesses and the disappearance of some seminal mainstays, it is time for yet another of the latter to make its way into our memories and off of the streets.
A Repeat Performance has been a gem of a shop for quite some time. With its eclectic collections of old-school cigarette lighters, books, film slides, glassware, and recently even an old hand-cranked washing machine, it has provided me with never-ending escapism for my years in the vicinity.
The shop holds more significance than simply a reminder of what the neighborhood used to mean. A Repeat Performance has been perhaps the longest-running museum of the non-essential in my daily walk. Need an accordion, a slide viewer or some opera glasses? You may find them here.
It’s a reminder of our family attics and basements, and the stuff we may have had to get rid of for lack of space, but still admire for the quality. This store is a reminder of days gone by, when artists could survive selling a uniquely artful selection of ephemera and maybe even meet a friend.
Beverly Bronson opened the store in 1980. Sharon Jane Smith arrived from the theater world in 1987 and hasn’t left.
“Since May 4 of 1987, I have worked with Beverly Bronson at A Repeat Performance. Now that Beverly has left this world I have to face the fact that I am not the businesswoman she was. It’s time for me to complete my stories of New Yorkers who stopped into the shop,” Smith told me earlier this month.
Most recently Sharon showed me some beautifully shaped rocks that were being sold. These rocks were beautiful and looked like they were naturally carved, from a running stream in the Catskills, perhaps. She told me that the Knoephelmachers — Margaret and Joseph, a local couple — were stone collectors. These beauties came from the Sierra desert. Sharon has helped to new homes for many. Sharon also mentioned her love for making tiling and mosaics, which is exemplified by the work she has done on the front door frame (see photo).
Go in and say hi to Sharon before July 31 and ask about the book she’s writing. You may walk out with a sweet stethoscope or typewriter.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Out and About in the East Village with Sharon Jane Smith