Billy's Antiques, the eclectic antique store that's operated out of a big tarp on Houston for decades, is on the verge of some big changes, just like everything else around the Bowery, which is being steadily transformed from skid row to super-trendy yuppietown. Owner Billy Leroy, who was arrested and then exonerated last year for selling allegedly illegal subway signs, tells the Times that he's getting rid of the big tent that's sheltered the business since it opened in 1986.
He's not relocating, however; Leroy's landlord is going to be building an actual brick-and-mortar structure at the location, and Leroy says he's going to operate out of part of the new building, "with the trusty tent playing the part of symbolic burial shroud: wrapped up, stuffed in an Italian cherry-wood coffin and interred beneath the foundation of the new structure." He seems pretty upbeat about the changes, but one of his employees tells the Times, "It’ll be part of that final transition to a landscape of Pottery Barns and Starbucks."
Asked for more details on the new establishment, Leroy tells EV Grieve, "It's going to be old brick imported from an old factory in Massachusetts. The will be four arched, giant doorways of metal and glass." Construction will begin in late winter, following a week-long wake for the old tent, which will be buried in a cherry-wood coffin under the foundation. This old commercial for Billy's is already making us feel nostalgic: