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Housewares store in Manhattan has a secret museum with rare exhibits


Olga Derkach

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For 36 years, Julie Gaines has run Fishs Eddy, a cookware store on 19th Street and Broadway near Union Square. The edition told in more detail NY1.

The store is named after a village in upstate New York.

It all started in the 1980s when Gaines discovered a treasure trove of commercial china and restaurant utensils while digging through the basements of restaurant supply stores at Bowery Dinnerware Store.

A step away from the retail space is a place that not many people get to see - a collection of plates, cups and saucers from restaurants, corporate canteens and institutions.

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“When we found the crockery in the Bowery basement, no one wanted it, it had been there for 75 years, it was all historical items,” Gaines said, noting that all items were made by American companies that no longer exist.

They feature logos of famous New York establishments that still exist and others that don't, such as Juniors, Tavern on the Green, The Plaza, and even White Castle.

“This is a piece of American history. You know what it is, it's marketing in its earliest stages," Gaines said.

Gaines, who grew up in Staten Island, said the mini-museum gives people a glimpse of how the store started.

She said she hopes someday these pieces will end up in a larger museum, but for now she's happy to show them to people if they ask.

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