Volume 74, Number 11 | July 14 - 20, 2004

Villager photos by Lincoln Anderson

Antiquer gets in a tight spot

While the city’s narrowest building is on Bedford St., its narrowest store might well be Sampop Antiques, 183 W. 10th St., off Seventh Ave. S., which is just 4 ft. wide by 20 ft. long. With all the stuff stacked along the walls, though, the width drops to 2 ft. Early one afternoon last week, owner Johnny Thummakitpanith, 54, was opening for business, dragging stuff out of the hole in the wall, which is built in a narrow alley between two buildings. As he arranged brass statuettes from India and Thailand on tables outside, he explained the chains and locks he was running through them were to stop thieves. The statues cost $200 to $300. Three times before people have tried to steal one, though he caught one robber red-handed before he could get far. From Bangkok, Thailand, Thummakitpanith’s real first name is Sampop, but Johnny works just fine in America. As the storeowner was opening up, a young hipster came by and purchased a statue. Packaging is nothing fancy: Thummakitpanith slipped some Duane Reade and Gourmet Garage plastic bags over it.

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