Monday, September 17, 2012

The Mystery Spot

During a weekend of college touring, I stayed with family friends who live in the Catskills. On a typical day in the small town of Phoenicia, New York, it’s quiet, unless the annual opera convention happens to be rolling through. In perspective, Main Street Phoenicia looks tiny compared to the immaculate landscape. The whole town almost feels like a secret, tucked within the mountains, waiting for those to reveal its enchantments. None of the stores really fit the cliché essentials of a typical small-town. Instead of a diner there’s Sweet Sue’s, which serves, even in the shortest of stacks, generous portions of fluffy pancakes, in flavors such as peach or raspberry. Next door, there’s Nest Egg, the all-purpose card/fishing gear/pharmacy shop. Across the street there’s even a mini art gallery. But the best store on the Main Street strip is The Mystery Spot.

Homer and Langley’s Mystery Spot has an interesting tale of origin: once upon a time there lived two brothers, Homer and Langley Collyer who were renegade hoarders way before it was televised. Unfortunately, they died by their collections, after being crushed by 136-tons of their accumulations.  The owner, Laura Levine was often told this tale as a warning-sign for not cleaning her own room as a child, but little did her mother know that she’d transform that clutter into The Mystery Spot. 

Before one even enters the Mystery Door, the entire porch has boxes and racks to sort through, including The $1 Yard Sale In A Box, or, The Mistake Box---filled with things Laura regrets buying for the store. 
Inside The Mystery Spot, clutter really is abound, but by way of kitschy kitchenware, records, old magazines and clothing. Here I found an entire basket of gingham gloves---a picnic's dream!
So many candy-colored tops!
I love all of the homemade signs that follow you around the store. In the clothing room there are labels on the “cozy autumn” section and “fancy party” one with doodles to match. 

I spent a lot of time in the record room, which seemed to only be selling records that had rad cover sleeve artwork. I will always find some friends in The BeatlesAlthough it wasn’t going on the weekend I was there, another thing that’s really unusual about The Mystery Spot, is that they hold an annual concert series on their front porch. Artists sometimes are even asked to write Mystery-Spot inspired songs to perform. If only The Beatles had known about The Mystery Spot...

The Mystery Spot is located at 72 Main Street, Phoenicia, New York, 12464, 845-688-7868.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

SNEAK PEEK: The Do Not Enter Diaries

SNEAK PEEK: THE DO NOT ENTER DIAIRES -- An upcoming web series brought to you by Emily Cohn and Emma Orlow. 

Dear Internet, I have exciting news! I’ve been working on this project for almost a year now, and I’m so happy that I can finally share it with you all. My best friend Emily Cohn and I started an ongoing web series called The Do Not Enter Diaries, a project devoted to filming the stories of teenagers in their bedrooms. The project was founded by Emily Cohn (who has interned for OC TV and is a Tribeca Film Insitute Fellow) and myself (who has written for places such as Refinery29, BUST Magazine, and The Huffington Post) in January 2012. Emily films and edits the videos, while I interview the teens and run the website/social media. Together, The Do Not Enter Diaries takes you behind the closed doors of teenagers’ hideouts, everywhere from New York to Mumbai. It’s not launching till January 2013, but for now, you can check out our website for more info and watch the sneak peek.  

Though I’m extremely dedicated to The Do Not Enter Diaries, this in no way means The Emma Edition is coming to  a close; Not only do I promise to still post regularly on this here blog, but I will also continue to do my freelance writing and brand consulting, and whatnot. The only thing that will be changing here on The Emma Edition is that I can now encourage readers to also follow me in my new endeavor at The Do Not Enter Diaries, and hopefully take part in it, too.


As teenagers, there are so few spaces we can truly claim ownership to. However, a teenager’s bedroom, a magical haven for carving out ones’ personal style—- or more often a place for snacking, studying, and dancing—-says a lot about us. Here at The Do Not Enter Diaries, we believe that the bedroom is a physical manifestation of a diary. The choices we make in our room can say a lot about our aesthetics and philosophies on a deeper level than what sheet patterns we like. The Do Not Enter Diaries is meant for ALL teenagers—meaning we seek to highlight a diverse set of genders, ethnicities, interests, and locations on our site. We’ll be exploring how exactly our bedrooms contribute or contrast who we are as teenagers by uncovering a world kept behind closed doors. Plus, you might just find a little decorating inspiration along the way… 

The Do Not Enter Diaries has filmed interviews on a national and global scale and hopes to film YOU next! Seriously. We are really looking forward to hearing from you guys. If you’re 13-19 years old and interested, please contact us HERE

A new bedroom diary will be featured on our homepage every Wednesday at 4pm, beginning with the first Wednesday of January 2013 (then it'll be a full year in the making). SUBSCRIBE TO OUR SITE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PREMIERE!!  


Follow me on Twitter @emmaedition
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