LOCAL SPOTLIGHT: PHILIP WILLIAMS POSTER MUSEUM
Manhattan is a treasure trove of treasure troves, full of unique, odd and inspiring gems. Among the museums and the world renowned dining experiences, there are the small places that you feel you’ve stumbled upon even if you’ve planned to find them. They eschew fad and fashion in favor of the unique and irreplaceable. The Phillip Williams Poster Museum is quintessentially this: a three story shop selling a vast collection of prints and posters from around the world, which spans an entire city block in TriBeCa. Owner Philip Williams was an army brat who grew up moving from base to base around the world during a time when posters were everywhere: political propaganda, scenic getaways, and even Picasso originals. He took to collecting them, and after moving to New York as a teenager he rented out a small corner of an antique store to sell them. After realizing people were buying them to hang at home he grew the business. Today, in his own shop, he sells an eclectic range from authentic Toulouse-Lautrec to small vintage travel posters ($15). The space itself feels a bit like a warehouse: unpretentious and bare, with exposed pipes and a tin roof. It is completely filled with posters—rolled and stacked, hanging about and laying flat. While the space appears to lack any sort of order, there is a method to the madness, stored in Philip Williams’ own mind. He knows every piece in the archive and exactly where it is. Spend a few minutes talking to him to find precisely what you want or indulge in the digging and discovery that are an essential part of what can be an hours-long experience. Either way you’ll walk away with something beautiful to remember the downtown expedition. For a special glimpse at the magic, The Roxy Cinema showcases a rotating collection of rare cinema posters. Be sure to keep an eye out for them on your way in!
Words by Jenny Hartman