Tender Buttons New York

Image by ghdunbar

Tender Buttons – From chaos, order

Random thoughts and verifiable quotes, relevant to this shop:

• “Whenever someone says, ‘I don’t believe in coincidences’, I say, ‘Oh my God, me neither!’ ”

• I shan’t ask shop owner Millicent Safro why Tender Buttons; I know already Gertrude Stein’s book of Cubist poetry by that name, and that the Cubists disconnected, even disassociated what they saw and recomposed it into that which they wanted us to see, even using words.

• “From chaos, order.”

• Ever ask yourself, “Where is my button jar?” Then, “What’s in it?”

I’m now inside this shop. Turns out this was Nora Ephron’s favourite shop. Gay Talese shopped here. In the preface to Millicent’s own book “Buttons,” the late Tom Wolfe wrote, “Tender Buttons is not a shop but a button museum that happens to de-accession daily in order to keep going.”

• Millicent might have deconstructed the chaos of one of the world’s great button jars. “Nothing novel or interesting happens unless it is on the border between order and chaos”, life included.

• Remember, in order to have a needed button on hand, one must have thousands in a jar. If you have one button, the chances are slim that it is the correct one; if you have thousands, the odds are more in your favour that you will have the needed one.

• In sewing buttons, 4 to 6 passes to attach, 5 or 6 wraps around the attaching thread to finish.

In a tiny townhouse, black enamel front door. Façade of ragged, well pointed, sort of burnt tomato coloured bricks.

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Details about this spot



East 62nd Street 143, New York

Telephone number


Opening Times

Tue - Fri 10:30 - 18:00, Sat 10:30 - 17:30


Leather buttons: US$ 4.50


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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)