Enjoy The Thrill Of The Hunt At This Must-See NYC Shop
Nondescript and easy to miss, a simple piece of wood stamped with an oculus stands inside a shop window. Once inside, dried roses hang from the French doors inviting visitors to the antique room. The in-store experience at The Hunt NYC is a visual feast, a multi-service shop owned and operated by Steven Ditchkus, Jake Lamagno, and Dylan Reider, with something to shock and inspire at every turn.
An impassioned creative vision leads the shopkeepers to collect and restore unique collectibles ranging from skulls to T-shirts, bringing them to the heart of downtown NYC on Orchard Street. The Hunt specializes in antique Americana, and a new generation of downtowners are becoming keen to the charm of a ceramic oil decanter or Victorian-style opera binoculars. Read on to get the story straight from Ditchkus and discover the thrill of The Hunt for yourself.
Tell us your story. What is the inspiration behind The Hunt and how did you get this project off the ground?
"The Hunt started as, and remains, a project of passion. At the root of this passion is our love for the old, the unusual, and the beautiful. Combine this passion with our collective desire to create something unique, something that was a reflection of our individual tastes and aesthetic values, and you get The Hunt NYC. It’s an antique store, a design firm, a gallery, and it has become the lifeblood for manifesting our creative impulses.
"Like most inspired ventures, The Hunt was born as a simple concept that came from an unexpected conversation between friends and was brought into the physical world by way of passion, hard work, and a bit of impetuous action."
Describe your dream finds — one that you've procured and one you're still searching for.
"Ultimately, it's not about the dream finds, it's about finding the dream … and we have."
Where do you source your antiques and collectibles?
"Our sources? All good men have a few secrets, and that’s one of ours. But I will say that the items that we carry truly do come from a wide range of nooks and crannies all over the country. For the most part, we do our hunting within the continental U.S. We tend to focus on Americana, because that’s what we love, but we don’t ever turn down a piece if it happens to fall outside of American history. If it’s right, it’s right."
What's it like on the road during your buying trips?
"The road is the ideal place for extraordinary stories. It's a breeding ground for romance, adventure, danger, and in our case it also brings the hopes of finding forgotten treasure. Plus, the antique game is a refuge for highly unusual and eccentric individuals with big personalities. We’ve had a lot of unexpected experiences on buying trips, which have involved everything from finding human skeletons in an attic to driving a van full of antique porcelain home during a hurricane."
How does The Hunt fit into the L.E.S. community?
"We live and breathe in the downtown culture of New York City. The potent energy, the people, the rich history — all these things have shaped us as individuals. We hope that these influences are echoed in the store and things we create. The store itself is unique but we would like to believe that it is very much a product of the community in which it rests."
Describe a typical day in the shop.
"We manage and produce everything ourselves which means a typical day involves a lot of multitasking. The nature of our work does harvest some odd tasks (researching the legality of buying and selling antique human remains for example), but honestly, a lot of the daily hustle is made up of all those not-so-glamorous tasks that come along with owning and operating a small business."
What makes you passionate about what you do?
"Our job is to find treasure and bring dead things back to life."
What kind of plans do you have for The Hunt in the near future? Are you working on any collaborations?
"Currently we’re working on expanding The Hunt’s design lines; expect to see some new and highly inspired home décor and attire from us this fall."
Photographed by Ryan Allen