Midtown Camera & Electronics
Midtown Camera & Electronics
The Party Line
Party Line was definitely not like the party stores we have back in Queens, like Party City. Entering the store, we were welcomed by a shelf of china glass, taking up half of one side of the store. Further exploring the store, we found cards dedicated for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and engagement. These cards were very modest in content and did not contain any humor, like the cards we tend to find in any party store today. They contained the minimal writing of the event, like “Happy Birthday”, and pictures of flowers or birds. Other products we found were gift bags, ribbons, plates, flowers, pens, and plaques. One thing that definitely stood out was the limited color choice of these products. The repeating colors were black, gold, white, and brown.
There were no balloons, party poppers, props, or candy. This store continued to ring a single word into our head about the Hasidic enclave: modest.
The Party Line was actually the second store that we were very interested in. It came off as a store that almost didn’t belong in the chain of stores that were on that block. We decided to ask the lady who was at the register. She didn’t seem to be Jewish. But, we decided to proceed with the interview anyways.
Before we could ask our first question, a man wearing a black fedora and a long coat came to us and said he was the storeowner. Once again, the man asked to be kept anonymous. From the first few questions of the interview, we found out that the store had only been around for 4 years.
We mentioned that we were intrigued by the store because we were so used to seeing Party City or wedding boutiques that sold china. He stated that the store was not meant for just Jewish occasions. Anyone could come into the store and plan any type of event. This came off as a surprise to us since all the products in the store seemed to be geared towards Jewish celebrations such as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
Donath Wine & Liquor Store
Donath Wine & Liquor Store was particularly a small business we thought was limited to one type of product, which was wine. This assumption came from the fact that the Hasidic community is very strict and modest. But, they used wine for religious ceremonies.
We were able to merely sneak a peek into the store for about five minutes, because the storeowners escorted us out the door for “not being allowed in the store.” But, we managed to find out that our assumption was false. We saw not only wine, but also other alcoholic beverages such as vodka, bourbon, and whiskey. Perhaps we were too focused on the strict viewpoint of the Hasidic enclave, but this was also a surprising discovery.
There was no interview. After being in the store for less than a minute, the storeowner asked us how old we were. Upon hearing that we were not 21, he asked us to leave.