Renovation of The Dark Prince’s former lair is now underway, but has the space been fully exorcised? To find out who the next tenant might be, we dropped into The Little Shoe Store, which moved from Orchard Street to 40 Clinton, next door to Vector, back in May.
As it turned out, the tiny vintage-shoe shop had more in common with its old neighbor than one might expect. “We specialize in women’s sizes 1-6,” owner Sydney Pringle explained. “I wear a size 4.” This was eerie enough. If you, dear readers, were also child insomniacs suffering from relentless imaginings of the terrifying toeless witches from Roald Dahl’s The Witches, then you will totally understand where we’re coming from. Specialty shoes for especially small feet (i.e. feet sans toes)?!
Sydney then looked at me and said that, as she was returning from grabbing a slice of pizza down the street, a thought popped into her head. “I was thinking, I could really use some press right now,” she said. We told her that was funny, because on our way down there we were thinking we could really use a slice of pizza right about now. OK– so Sydney can also read minds?!
THEN we noticed a photo hanging on the wall of a cat. We almost fled right then and there out of mortal fear, but two customers walked in to scan the selection and blocked our escape. We’re glad we stuck around though, because Sydney turned out to be very nice, and decidedly not a witch at all.
The Little Shoe Store has an impressive selection of tiny shoes, including mostly dead stock vintage, but also some new shoes sourced from Italy, Japan, and South Korea. Prices range from a very reasonable under $20 to $300. Visitors can also custom order and design their own shoes made-to-order from Sydney. The store was even voted “Best Niche Shoe Mecca” by New York magazine last year.
So who will its new neighbor be?
Sydney revealed the old Vector storefront will be the home of Blue Atelier, a new IRL shop for designer Blue Bayer. According to his Etsy page, the East Village-based artisan sold his jewelry on the Renaissance Festival circuit for 20 years. Though his work includes a goat-head ring and is heavy on the skull and skeleton motifs, the resemblance to Vector stops there. In fact, the “steampunk evil-eye necklace” is supposed to deflect evil. Perhaps the landlord decided steampunks make for better tenants than Satanists? Who knew.