Goodbye Yarn Connection

I’ve been sick at home all day, knitting and listening to the 5 cds that I own. Seriously, I only own like 5 CDs. I know, it’s shameful and weird, whatever. I’m big into WCBS, weather on the 8s. I’ve already listened to Morrissey, Serge Gainsbourgh, and now, Amy Winehouse. Apparently, I only own CDs of drunk Europeans. Next up: Johnny Cash. (Moving on to drunk Americans.) I also do not own an iPod, and have been thinking of breaking out my tape recorder Walkman on the subway, just to mess with people’s minds.

Anyway, yesterday I went to the Yarn Connection, which is near my office, and which, sadly is closing. I never got around to writing a review of this store, because I am lazy, but now that it is closing, I am writing what might as well be a eulogy. The Yarn Connection was this sort of odd, mothball’d (literally, the foyer smelled like mothballs, though the store didn’t) relic of an old New York. Not Edith Wharton-old, but Annie Hall-old New York. One of the women working there mentioned that the store had been there twenty years, which means it must have opened in 1988, but it felt like it had opened in the 1970s. (I just looked it up on IMDB, and Hannah and Her Sisters was made in the late ’80s, and there’s also a distinct Hannah and Her Sisters vibe about this store.)

I think there are two cities that loom large in many people’s imaginations, New York and Paris. And for me, like many other people, my concept was shaped by random children’s books and movies, and this store was straight out of those books and movies. I know I’ve mentioned this Lois Lowry kids’ book before, The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline, but that book and Louise Fitzhugh’s Sport (which was a sequel to Harriet the Spy), kind of formed this notion of 1960s and 1970s New York for me, and along with random stuff like Tootsie, it formed this vision of what New York was like.

Anyway, this store was definitely a throwback to that kind of past. The owner and her employee were both, I think, native New Yorkers, with the accents to prove it (one of them definitely has an accent, I think the other does too), and they were always nice and  harrumphing around the store with their yarn and needles. I stopped by occasionally to pick up some accessories at lunch, and their customers were always middle-aged native New Yorker ladies, and they were always chatting and kvetching. It actually had a good, solid selection of yarn, but it was the opposite of the very styled SoHo-chic of Purl. It had a very only-in-New York feeling about it, not because of the selection, but it was such a neighborhood store, and there was always this sense that it was run for and by native New Yorkers. There’s a certain kind of middle-aged native New Yorker lady who would not hesitate to chew out a mugger who had the audacity to try and rob her and then continue on her errands, and this was the kind of lady who shopped at the Yarn Conenction. It also was a store for people who liked to browse–there’s a scene in Hannah and Her Sisters where Woody Allen goes record browsing, and that New York is gone. Kim’s Video, Tower Records, tons of bookstores, etc., all those stores where dubious men lurk for their obsessive collections have disappeared, and in a more feminine way, The Yarn Connection was a part of that genre. Adam described his friend the other day as “someone who was already nostalgic for things when he was young” and I think I’m like that too. If you’ve seen Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, it had that same kind of nostalgia. Though that movie was ostensibly set in 2008, that movie was one big nostalgic Valentine to that kind of New York.

They’re open until January 17th, with everything at least 20% off, so stop by if you want to say goodbye.

The Yarn Connection

218 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016
(212) 684-5099

Posted in Yarn Stores at January 3rd, 2009. Trackback URI: trackback

4 Responses to “Goodbye Yarn Connection”

  1. January 16th, 2009 at 11:49 am #Coleen

    So sorry to hear that this one-of-a-kind new york style store is closing its doors. i used to work on madison ave and would stop in, sometimes just to browse, sometimes to get material for a specific project.

    i came across a receipt from the yarn connection throwing out old documents and decided to check the (new fangled) internet to see if my old yarn store was still around.

    First i was so happy to see that they where not just still there, but in the same location. then dismayed to see the immiment closing just around the corner (calendar wise).

    this place is everything mentioned in the original review and so much more. sadly, since life has given me other projects in life that have not required yarn i have not been there in some time. but it was one of the better yarn stores i had shopped in, not just because of inventory, but the flavor of the place. i know life changes/moves on but you sure do wish some places would stick around for a while longer.

    as bob hope said, thanks for the memories.

  2. February 1st, 2009 at 5:53 pm #Dave Armon

    It broke my 10-year-old daughter’s heart today to see The Yarn Connection closed. We knew the store’s Super Bowl Sunday sale was famous and had talked about going for some time. My daughter wanted to make her mom a summer scarf, because the winter one she gave at Xmas received rave reviews. We will now need to trek to East Harlem find yarn at an unpretentious shop on First Avenue.

  3. April 6th, 2009 at 9:57 am #Sabina

    I have only just discovered this sad closing, and found this blog in the search to see where one of my favorite yarn shops had moved to. I used to live close by and was in this shop all the time. It is everything you describe and so much more. I loved coming here because you could be left on your own to browse, but if in need of help could get everything you needed, unlike, as another commenter has mentioned, the pretentious yarn shops. I had not been to this store since Nov. but was in the neighborhood yesterday and wanted to stop in to say hello…only to discover that it was gone, and sadly have found this site to discover it is gone for good. I wish I had a chance to say goodbye, and to say thank you for all the great years and yarn adventures had by all who knew of this hidden gem. Yarn Connection will be missed.

  4. January 2nd, 2011 at 8:46 am #SHAZnyc

    I was just looking online for the # and I found this blog. This is sad news indeed.
    I found the shop when I first learned to knit in 97. I loved the folks and the vibe there. It was a small store but still I would spend hours looking around. I alway felt comfortable there.
    This shop will be missed.

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