Address: 1201 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY
I’ve been to School Products twice. Once with my co-worker (without her, I would have never found it, because it is in such a weird office building*) and once with Adam last week, after a horrible Shake Shack burger. Danny Meyer, please go check on Shake Shack because I have been having PTHD (post-traumatic-hamburger disorder) ever since.**
Anyway. I have decided that School Products is like the Strand. Like the Strand, School Products is famous and considered a New York icon, and yet, I don’t quite get why the two are so beloved. True, both offer good deals (I bought Twinkle’s Big City Knits at the Strand for 40% off last week) on hard-to-find, expensive stuff (School Products offers yak, camel, and cashmere yarn), but yet I find them both sort of uninspiring. I find the Strand much better since it’s been renovated (I know, heresy to Strand lovers), but it’s still kind of meh. The Strand still has an unwelcoming element to it, I think. I know that School Products has lots of awesome stuff for cheap, but I didn’t feel compelled to buy anything. I think it’s partially because it has a weird office building vibe, with industrial carpeting and overhead florescent lights. Also, I have to admit, I think it’s because it’s not styled very well.
I think it’s a lot like going to a sample sale. I’ve scored some great bargains at sample sales, but often I feel so uninspired. Things that I might be lured by if it was showcased in a fancy store seem so horrible when jumbled into a big cardboard box. (Especially Marc Jacobs! There is always so much crappy Marc Jacobs at sample sales. I used to be a much more avid sample-sale goer when I worked in midtown, and before I decided to kill off my shopping habit.)
It’s terrible and shallow, but in a way, perhaps it forces you into buying things you truly like. Because if yarn or clothes can appeal to you even in a crappily lit and weirdly laid-out store, then you’re judging them fairly–in a blind taste test, as it were–without being swayed by designer names or fancy styling. (Books don’t really suffer from styling. It’s just that the Strand used to be really hot and dusty all the time, and in a bad way, not a charming way, and I could never find anything I wanted. But it has improved, post-renovation.)
That being said, School Products does have a large selection of yarn on cones, many at substantially cheaper prices than at other yarn stores. They are also owned by the same family that produces Karabella yarn and who wrote Runway Knits, so they have the full line of Karabella yarn. I’ve seen a couple products made with Karabella Aurora 8 yarn, and when knit up, the resulting material looks very crisp, if that makes any sense, and seems to have very little halo. Though Grumperina has a bad review of it here, I would still consider it for a future project.
* See below
** My friend offered to split sliders with me the next day, when I was hanging out and having drinks, and I was like “No! I have bad feelings about ground beef!”