One of the great stores has no walls and, in fact, isn’t even a store at all. Consider the Andrews of Arcadia stall at Spitalfields Market in London. Every Thursday, John Andrews sets up his booth of vintage fishing tackle and it couldn’t be improved on by all the art directors on Madison Avenue. Antique angling wares—bamboo rods, cork floats, checkered sailing flags, restored reels, the odd canvas bucket—all laid out perfectly, priced fairly, and described with care and not a trace of snobbery. It’s a very sweet thing. Then lunch across the street at St. John Bread & Wine, and you’re enjoying the better part of civilized life.
But the antiques market is only open on Thursdays and we live in New York, so what’s an angler to do? Go to their website which has a smaller selection of goods, but still enough to satisfy the antiquarian instinct. On a site like this good merchandise doesn’t linger. Of course, much of what we look at online can’t substitute for the real thing—but that doesn’t stop us going back.