I think it’s safe to say that most Philadelphia residents visit the famed South Street once and a while. We know that it is a popular place for tourists- they usually go do a little shopping and then drive (or the brave ones walk) down 9th street to get the famous Pat’s or Geno’s Steaks. If you are a Philly tourist, here’s a hint: go to Jim’s instead. It’s on South Street and it’s way better than the king or his nemesis.
Today I want to tell you about an amazing hidden shop on South Street. This is not the kind of concealed place that you have to enter through another shop’s backdoor, but I can tell you another time about a speakeasy near Center City that you get to that way. I say this shop is hidden because it has no discernable sign or storefront. In fact, here is a picture of the front of the store from GoogleMaps:
Would you go in here? Ordinarily I would not either. However, sometimes I get a little brave and adventurous and it usually pays off.
Called C. Neri Antiques and Lighting, you will not regret entering this store. Upon pushing the old glass door open, it’s like time slows. The first thing you will notice is the VAST collection of antique chandeliers hanging from the ceiling; it’s truly remarkable. The first time I went in I felt like I had been transported to Diagon Alley and Harry Potter would be right around the corner. It’s funny, they’re just lights but it’s like nothing you’ve ever imagined.
Once you get over the initial shock and bewilderment (and no, the ceiling is not going to buckle with the weight of the lighting- but the thought crossed my mind too), you must peruse the old glass cases and see the rings, strings of pearls, cufflinks, and assortment of antique jewelry and artifacts. All for purchase. If you can get yourself to want to remove anything from this store. The place is so perfect in its distinction and the pieces are so valuable, you may not even want to touch anything.
To further illustrate how this place is frozen in time, on the website the owner lists their email contact as a contact as “Electronic mail.” Just like that. If you ever meet him, you will understand. And if he likes you, he’ll let you go upstairs to admire the paintings and relics of the 1920s and 30s. Mindblowing.
So whichever way you find yourself on South Street, perhaps between your shopping and steak-eating, I encourage you to check this place out. You won’t regret it.
Photo Credit: 1st and 3rd to GoogleMaps, 2nd to my iPhone 3G (apologies for the crappy quality there)