For those looking to furnish or refresh their home, the Gramercy/Union Square area is a bit like an urban shopping center: Showrooms and flagships of some of the best-known furniture purveyors are within a few blocks—or even a few steps—of each other. Whether you are in the market for an antique Oushak rug or on-trend lighting, you are likely to find it here.
888 Broadway (between 18th and 19th Streets)
A tableware display at ABC Carpet & Home. Image: angela n./Flickr
This six-story emporium is not the sort of place where you saunter in expecting to spend just a few minutes. It is so chock-a-block with furniture, rugs, lighting, tableware, linens, window treatments, accents, and more that it had to expand to an annex across the street (881 Broadway) to display even more floor coverings, including sheepskins, cowhides, and kilims. You will find plenty of rugs on the sixth floor of its main building, including antique, limited-edition, and Madeline Weinrib designs. As to ABC Carpet’s aesthetic, “eclectic luxury” is the best way to describe it. Though much of the furniture leans toward interpretations of Mid-Century Modern (Thayer Coggin + Milo Baughman sofas, Glas Italia tables), the store sells vintage and antique furniture as well as items from global artisans. In addition to its own designs and exclusives, you will find brands as varied as Mauviel (cookware) and Missoni (vibrant pillows). Much of the mezzanine has been given over to more-spiritual collections, including calligraphy by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, plush velvet meditation mats, and books by Deepak Chopra. If you work up an appetite, head to one of the store’s three restaurants—ABC Kitchen, ABC Cocina, or abcV—or down to the lower level, where artisanal chocolate is sold alongside gourmet condiments, jams, teas, and coffees.
61 Gramercy Park North (21st Street, between Lexington Avenue and Park Avenue South)
If you do not see anything you like the first time you visit this purveyor of vintage and antique furnishings, try again the next day, or the day after. The inventory is ever-changing. One day a consignment of gleaming Victorian-era mahogany furniture might commandeer the floor; the next an assortment of chinoiserie urns or Audubon prints or a brass samovar or a tufted leather chesterfield sofa or antique Waterford goblets or…
257 Park Avenue South (between 20th and 21st Streets)
Gunlocke began in 1902 as a Wayland, NY-based manufacturer of chairs. John F. Kennedy had a Gunlocke chair in the Oval Office. The company now produces sofas, stools, tables, and case goods too. While corporate sales are its mainstay, a visit to its showroom reveals plenty of clean-lined, contemporary furnishings that would look right at home in a Manhattan loft. Upholstery options range from leather to stain-resistant recycled fabrics; case-good finishes include hardwood veneers and painted glass. All products continue to be manufactured, using environmentally friendly methods, in Wayland.
251 Park Avenue South (between 20th and 21st Streets)
Herman Miller still sells the classic Noguchi table. Image: Expandinglight5/Wikimedia
Though founded in 1905, Herman Miller has become synonymous with masters of Mid-Century Modern design, including former design directors Gilbert Rodhe and George Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames, and Isamu Noguchi. The company’s New York store, which opened in 2016, still sells their iconic designs, including Eames molded plastic and fiberglass chairs, Nelson “bubble” light fixtures, and Noguchi’s organic-shape glass-top tables. But it sells newer designs as well, such as the almost impossibly slender Magis Baguette tables by brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, throw pillows by Paul Smith inspired by Fair Isle knits, and the Magis Puppy sculpture/seat, sure to become an icon itself.
250 Park Avenue South (at 20th Street)
Ligne Roset was founded in 1860 in Montagnieu, France, as a manufacturer of walking sticks. Today it is renowned for innovative furniture, lighting, and accents featuring streamlined silhouettes and luxurious materials. Its best-selling Peter Maly bed, for instance, is a low-slung quilted platform complemented by cushions that double as a headboard; additional side cushions can be added so that the piece can serve as a daybed as well. Its Pumpkin range of seating, reminiscent of both bean bags and marshmallows, can be upholstered in a range of vibrant fabrics or hides; its Hampton tables, an homage to architect Mies Van der Rohe, are made of cherrywood offset with aquamarine glass shelves and smoked-gray glass sides. Designs like these prove that contemporary furnishings can be as warm and welcoming as more-traditional pieces.
40 East 19th Street (between Park Avenue South and Broadway)
Modani offers a less rarefied, more accessible take on modern and contemporary design than the likes of Ligne Roset and Herman Miller. It also stocks a wider assortment—its occasional tables alone encompass mirrored cubes, walnut-top tripods, and spare metal-legged pieces. It is ideal for those who love the fuss-free shapes, minimalist adornments, and sleek finishes of modern furniture, lighting, and accessories but do not require the pedigree of an Eames or a Nelson.
902 Broadway (between 20th and 21st Streets)
Having begun in 1914 as an importer of Oriental rugs, Safavieh today designs and manufactures its own floor coverings as well as furniture, lighting, and accessories, often in partnership with top designers such as Jamie Drake, Kelly Hoppen, and Cynthia Rowley. The offering is style-agnostic: graceful Louis-style dining chairs and tufted leather armchairs with nail-head trim, mirrored Hollywood Regency credenzas and rustic light fixtures, Oushak rugs and stitched-cowhide pillows. If you are uncertain as to which style best suits your home, or even as to the wealth of styles that exist, a tour of this New York flagship’s three floors will open you up to a world of possibilities.