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Billy’s Antiques in ‘Limbo’ After Death of Landlord - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


Billy’s Antiques in ‘Limbo’ After Death of Landlord


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c11Courtesy Billy Leroy

Billy Leroy has his hands full with “Baggage Battles,” the Travel Channel show in which he stars: the show just premiered in France, and tomorrow a new season begins shooting in Red Hook.

But what about the tent on the Bowery that launched him to fame in the first place? According to the eccentric antiques dealer, the store is currently in “limbo” and there’s a chance it won’t be back — at least, not on the Bowery.

Mr. Leroy buried his shop last March, with plans to reopen it in a building planned for the lot where the tent once stood (and where a coffin briefly took its place).

But that plan may have changed following the death of his landlord, Tony Goldman, in September. “I have not been approached by his family to do a new Billy’s,” Mr. Leroy told The Local. “I have heard of no plans of building since Tony passed, so we will see. Right now what remains of Billy’s is the skeletal structure, a memory of the Old Bowery.” He added of his former landlord, “He was a really great man. He supported the store and artists… it is a great loss.”

Billy Leroy's Goodbye Bash 3.9.12Suzanne Rozdeba Billy Leroy and Jimm Jarmusch

Meanwhile, “Baggage Battles” just premiered in France, where Mr. Leroy was born to a French father. The antiques man is no stranger to haggling in that country. “I know all the secret spots in Paris and I speak French fluently, which really helps. I also bring items over to trade.”

That doesn’t mean anyone can score a bargain: “The deals at the Paris flea market are mind-boggling if you know what you’re looking for and you know how to act,” he said. “The French are known for throwing tourists out of their shop if they ask a stupid question.”

As for the next season of “Baggage Battles,” Mr. Leroy promises it’ll be the best yet: “There will be a lot more interaction among ourselves, ‘the cast,’ good and bad. It is not all love and roses when it comes to money and profits – it’s every man for himself!”

Stay tuned: even if Billy’s doesn’t reopen on the Bowery, it could reopen elsewhere. “I do not have a place yet because I’m so slammed with the TV show but I want to open at some point,” he said.

Update | 10:30 p.m. Mr. Leroy adds, via e-mail: “If I do open it will be in a non-heavy-foot-traffic street. I don’t need the walk-ins. It will be exclusive. No more yuppies asking stupid questions, ha!”