From A guide to pawn shopping in New York City with Gold Girl

[Originally posted at the WordSmith blog] If you’ve been on a shopping trip to New York City, no doubt institutions like Bergdorf’s, Bloomindale’s and Barneys ring a bell. We are at none of those places; we’re not even in the same borough. Instead, we’re at a pawnshop in Queens and the 28-year-old woman oohing and ahhing over the accessories not only selected many of the items for sale in this store (EZ Pawn at 42-27th Street in Long Island City), she’s part of a 14-store NYC pawn empire founded by her father, David Kaminsky. Also, her name is Gold Girl – well, by reputation, at least.

Lauren Kaminsky Goldman (aka ‘Gold Girl’) is the woman responsible for making pawnshops cool, chic even, and Beauty & Essex – the restaurant, bar and nightclub with retro appeal – is the place where it happened. Back when the Manhattan eatery opened in 2010, it got noticed for two reasons: 1) they serve free champagne in the ladies’ bathroom (hard not to notice that) and 2) patrons enter through a fully functioning pawnshop with vintage guitars, vinyl and jewellery that’s often displayed on Barbie and Biggie Smalls dolls.

Goldman started stocking the shop at Beauty & Essex in spring 2011, creating an environment and aesthetic that would distance her operation from the traditionally seedy stereotypes of pawnshops. Then, when the restaurant launched a location in Las Vegas last year, Goldman once again brought the vintage baubles. Now, with a Beauty & Essex opening in Los Angeles next month (in addition to a Hollywood outpost of Tao, which is owned by the same company), the pawn princess will bring her curatorial prowess to the West Coast.

Read the full blog post here: