Undiscovered New Paltz: Horsefeathers

Horsefeathers shop front. Photo by Vincent Carnevale

“Undiscovered New Paltz” is an assignment undertaken by students in Lisa Phillips Feature Writing class. In the series, student journalists chronicle their experiences with the roads less traveled in New Paltz, shedding light on the seemingly-mundane, under-appreciated corners of the town. Here is another:

Carolyn Quimby writes about the Nyquist-Harcourt Nature Sanctuary, a hidden nature sanctuary located near Huguenot Street.

 

Hanging inside Horsefeathers of New Paltz, an antique and accessory shop, is a black and white painting of a woman lying on a bed, wearing the bare essentials, reaching for something out of frame. A handwritten sign next to the painting reads, “If you cannot reach for something, please ask for help.”

Subtle humor, along with an overwhelming amount of antiques, fine art, music, jewelry and furniture from all decades can be found at Horsefeathers. The shop is located at 15 N. Chestnut St. and has been open for the past year and a half. It is owned by Gordan Rauer and his wife, Toby. Gordon Rauer has 50 years of antiquing experience and owns two other shops located in Newburgh and Nyack.

“I have always been collecting,” Mr. Rauer said. “I grew up in New York City so there was diverse cultures and I could spent my time in museums. I’ve just always been curious.”

He has vanloads of items delivered each week to provide visitors with a new experience for each and every visit.

Entering the shop is like walking into a corn maze where stacks of furniture tower from floor to ceiling. Each room acts as a time machine encompassing a certain era of history, from images of Disney’s first creations to Nixon’s presidential campaign buttons.

The first room’s highlight is the line of glass display cases that showcase hundreds of pieces of jewelry. The smooth texture of the turquoise resembles sea glass while the sparkle of the gems draws the eye in.

The adjacent room slingshots the viewer across the world into West Africa, where over 40 carved wooden statues are stationed. The staircase leading to the second story is bannered with paintings ranging from dancing Haitian women to collections of 19th century Joan of Arc etchings.

Horsefeathers of New Paltz is home to such a vast array of items because Rauer’s goal is for the shop to represent the odd, unique and strange.

“I have a huge networking base to aid in finding unusual pieces,” Rauer said. “The weirder it is, the more I like it.”

His lifelong passion for collecting has been passed along to his wife, who now finds CD’s, sheet music and vinyl to add to the store’s inventory.

Check out this other story for undiscovered New Patlz: Carolyn Quimby writes about the Nyquist-Harcourt Nature Sanctuary, a hidden nature sanctuary located near Huguenot Street.