Shopper’s Diary: A Poet-Collector Opens Pidgin in Upstate NY

At a time when so many of us were starved for inspirational browsing, news of Kostas Anagnopoulos’s recently opened upstate New York antiques shop, Pidgin, sent ripples of excitement throughout the design world. Kostas himself could relate: Since his purchase of a pelican-shaped Art Deco bottle opener at the age of 14 , he’s been on the hunt. “I think all antique and vintage dealers who go into business do so in part because they’ve been accumulating for so long that it’s just time to practice detachment and share the finds,” he tells us. “That’s certainly true for me.”

Kostas is also a poet and a seasoned salesperson—he and his husband, Jesse James, founded the creative consultancy/design firm Aesthetic Movement, which we have been chronicling for years: see the couple’s city apartment here and the upstate tent resort they designed here. As anticipated, Kostas’s offerings are far-ranging and soulful: “I’m a very democratic collector. I like patina, and often gravitate towards the homespun and anonymous, how something feels in the hand. The thing has to have nice lines, like a drawing within a larger space.” Come see.

Photography by Victor Schrager, unless noted.

pidgin—named for the shorthand form of communication—is set in th 14
Above: Pidgin—named for the shorthand form of communication—is set in the charmingly untouched hamlet of Oak Hill, which, like so much of upstate New York, has been swarming with city escapees since last spring. Kostas posts new offerings and shop hours on Instagram @thisispidgin.

Not all is vintage but everything has a story: the wood-handled knives in the glass case are by The Shin Blacksmith, a fifth-generation Korean family business. Writes Kostas on Instagram: “Master Shin hand makes each piece using the repurposed carbon steel of railroad track, which is rich in manganese and can be heated to a very high temperature. The handles are chestnut, slowly dried in sunlight for years, so it is lightweight, strong, and rot-resistant.”

the shop is set in a landmarked italianate building, originally a general store 15
Above: The shop is set in a landmarked Italianate building, originally a general store and more recently a record shop. Its original beadboard remnants inspired Kostas to panel the entire space, ceiling and window stage included.