Update ~ They are open by appointment as of September, 2020
If you have been following GothamToGo East 125th Street, a work in progress, you will already know that East Harlem suffered a major loss when several old-time shops were forced to close, including Demolition Depot, a gorgeous shop that had been at its East 125th Street location since 1996.
We have great news ~ Demolition Depot has opened its doors at a new location, right around the corner on East 126th Street. Come along as we step inside.
While the owner, Evan Blum, recently relocated into this building, the space is already chock-filled with organized treasurers, transporting shoppers back in time. Blum has been salvaging for more than 45 years, with salvaging projects that have included some of our favorite iconic places ~ most recently the complete interior of the beloved Upper East Side Glaser’s Bake Shop.
Some of our other favorite salvage projects have included the Commodore, Biltmore and Vanderbilt Hotels, the Audubon Ballroom, the Loew’s Delancey Theater, the Helen Hayes Theater, and the New York Life Insurance Building.
Our exploration took us through two full floors, each with several separate and good sized rooms which appear to be neatly organized with smaller treasurers, hardware and display cases near the front entrance. Chandeliers, candelabras and all manor of lighting hang from the ceilings and walls in each room.
Stained and leaded glass windows and huge hand-carved doors were plentiful, and placed in hallways between rooms where ceilings are high. Fireplace mantels were also plentiful, with hand-carved marble in some of the rooms, and hand-carved wood mantles in other rooms. Enormous framed mirrors are everywhere.
While you are free to roam, there are plenty of knowledgeable people to help with any questions, including the history of many of the pieces. You might find a pair of Herter Brother doors that originally came from the Palmer Mansion in Chicago, a German Renaissance fireplace mantel that once belonged to John D. Rockefeller Jr., or a chandelier from Oscar Hammerstein’s office.
Each item is tagged with a number used to retrieve a full description and the price. In addition to their dismantling services, they have a consulting business for any major project you might be dreaming of, and they have a list of trades people skilled at restoring and installing. They ship anywhere in the world and recently shipped an entire antique bar to Germany, light fixtures to Hong Kong and bathroom fixtures to Australia. If you need a replacement piece and can’t find it, they are able to replicate almost anything.
It was no surprise to learn that they are a frequent stop for movie producers needing specific vintage pieces, like the interior of Baryshnikov’s apartment in Sex and the City, or sets for the CBS Early Show, Good Morning America and The Today Show. They have even rented out their entire building for photo shoots for Vogue, New York Magazine and various episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
We only explored the first two-floors of the new five-story double-wide building, and look forward to returning as each new floor opens to the public and more vintage artifacts are brought in.
The new Demolition Depot is in a hot new location in East Harlem, directly across the street from the new eleven-story Bjarke Ingels luxury rental building, Gotham East (126 East 126th Street), expected to be completed towards the end of 2019.
You can check their website for inventory and new arrivals, but there’s nothing quite like taking a stroll in and around some very grand pieces, lovingly removed, preserved, and restored ~ and ready for a new home.
The short YouTube video, above, was created for Union Settlement in East Harlem: Neighborhood 360 and New York City Small Business Services by BRIC Media. It is a nice introduction to the owner of Demolition Depot, Evan Blum.
Demolition Depot is now located at 159-161 East 126th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenue. Contact them at 212-860-1138 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
While you’re here, take a look at East 125th Street, a work in progress.
Don’t get lost. Buy an East Harlem Map.