Obscura to Reopen on Avenue A

IMG_3029Stephen Rex Brown Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson show off some just-purchased oddities in front of their new location at 207 Avenue A.

After a rushed departure from their former space on East 10th Street, the owners of Obscura Antiques and Oddities are aiming to reopen at a new, more spacious location at 207 Avenue A by the end of February.

Fresh from a visit to a Hell’s Kitchen building that yielded a Tibetan Kapala skull-cup, headhunter’s axe, a small replica of an electric chair, and old handcuffs, Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson touted their new store, which is nearly double the size of the previous location.

“There is room to breathe,” said Ms. Michelson. “It’s like a dream come true.”

The space is 450 square feet — a substantial upgrade from the 10th Street location that was 250 square feet.

Obscura AntiquesDaniel Maurer 207 Avenue A.

“It was a bowling alley — very narrow,” said Mr. Zohn, referring to the old location that he had to abandon in haste at the end of last month (the store had agreed to vacate before Feb. 1, thinking that it would be ready to open its new location by then). “With a dozen people in there you didn’t have room to turn around.”

In the process of moving out they found a few gems buried in the basement, like cocaine vials from around World War I, and old theatrical photos. A few customers finally retrieved items they bought years ago, too.

Besides being a former funeral home — which doesn’t hurt Obscura’s mystique — the new location comes with other amenities, as well. The space will have room for an office, a welcome addition now that the store’s national profile has grown thanks to a reality show entering its third season. The film crew from the Science channel will likely dig the new digs, too; in the previous location the sound technician had to set up in the bathroom.

Both owners said that during the search for a new location they never considered leaving the neighborhood.

“We’re an East Village store,” said Mr. Zohn.

Ms. Michelson immediately chimed in, “We’re not going to Brooklyn like all the hipsters — I mean, wonderful people.”