Surprise Surprise 25 years in East Village

Best of East Village: Suprise! Surprise! (is closed)

1 minute, 51 seconds Read

I haven’t been in New York for very long, so I haven’t established deep relationships with local businesses. Still, in my short time, there’s a few businesses I’ve been lucky enough to “discover”  that have long-term relationship potential including On The Mark barbershop and Lin’s Laundry.  This is my postmortem review/tribute to Surprise! Surprise! 

Surprise! Surprise!

One of the stores I’ve developed an affection for in my 10 months in the East Village is Surprise! Surprise!the quirky homegoods store on 3rd Ave and East 12th that sold odd odds and ends at reasonable prices. Surprise! Surprise! lived up to both exclamation points.

As as soon as I developed a relationship, I found that the store closed nearly 3 months ago due to a rent increase to their space that they couldn’t sustain.

Surprise! Surprise! was college student-priced (and it was on Project Runway Season 12!). What I liked so much about S2 was not just that they offered regular household items, but mixed in oddball knick knacks and funky storage items you would only find in a Daiso. The two-level store was different; from the first time I walked by their display windows featuring unique desks, weird decor, and other non-standard items to the Super Mario Brothers font of their signage.

All the weird shit at Surprise Surprise

Depending on your current lifestyle, Suprise! Surprise! was either like Bed, Bath and Beyond’s campy brother or the classy uncle of a Chinatown catch-all bodega. It’ll be missed.

New York Magazine had this to say:

A housewares staple in the East Village, this jam-packed, well-organized shop has all the basics for a dorm or apartment, and plenty of extras too. The sprawling two-level store encompasses three storefronts marked by bubble-lettered green awnings… The store’s focus on inexpensive goods for small spaces makes it popular among NYU students and nearby renters. Also spotted: celebrities like Norah Jones, Tim Robbins, Julia Stiles, and Drew Barrymore.

Though I’ve only been here for just eight months of the 25 years Surprise! Surprise! spent in their East Village space. I will say that I didn’t need to be here very long to recognize a unique store with a lot of character. Much like Flax leaving the Mission in San Francisco, I am saddened to see Surprise! Surprise! go.

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