Yesterday I went in to NYC with my sister to check out a couple of yarn shops. We started with Seaport Yarns . It was the most unusual store I have ever been to, to say the least! It is on the 5th floor of an old, dim office building in lower Manhattan, a few blocks from the South Street Seaport. We weren't even sure we were in the right building until we asked the desk clerk, then we signed in and went to the 5th floor, where we had to be buzzed in.
Basically, they took over an office space that still looks as though the previous tenant has not completely moved out yet. It was a non-descript, dim, gray office suite with narrow hallways. A woman came out of the back to greet us, and took us on a guided tour of the poorly lit hallways, which were lined with shelves and shelves of yarn (and one wall of books) . The hallways were so narrow that two people couldn't walk side by side. Except for one office room that had shelves all around it, (and was so crammed with stuff that you had to climb around boxes and furniture to get to them!!) the other rooms did not seem to be used for display/sale, but for storage or some other purposes. They were also crammed with boxes and furniture. You felt there was no space to relax and examine all they had to offer (and there was a ton of stuff, I will say that!)
Yesterday was hot and fairly humid, in the mid-80's, and the "shop" wasn't much better inside. The air system was barely working, the air was warm and dry, and the few fans in odd places did little more than try to push the dead air around a bit. It was like walking into a huge closet. We lasted through the tour, but were so hot and uncomfortable that we couldn't stay... We actually felt better outside - at least there was a breeze near the water!
It was really a shame, because they had one of the most extensive yarn collections I've ever seen, and we both could have spent hours there, had the conditions been more comfortable. Instead, I felt as if we were at some kind of warehouse closeout sale jammed in there for lack of a better place... and we were in the way.
The prices (from what we could examine) were reasonable - average for what I've seen at other shops. Among the huge selection were Manos del Uruguay, Noro, Lamb's Pride, Plymouth (even some acrylics), Berroco, Rowan, Debbie Bliss, etc. One thing my sister commented on, was that yarn was so jammed in everywhere that you were afraid to touch things for fear of them falling, which often happened, and the old commercial carpet on the floors did not look especially clean. As she put it, who wants to spend a lot of money on yarn that's been all over the floor?
Granted the rent in the fancier Seaport tourist area shops is probably much higher, but it still seems to me that they could have found some more suitable accomodations. They certainly lost our business.