As we continue our cross-country journey in search of the best army navy shops with Alpha Industries at the helm, we return to our east coast home in New York City to uncover a gem of a shop that’s been family-owned for several generations.
Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, Kaufman’s is New York’s premiere destination for all things military surplus.
With Highsnobiety’s Managing Director Jeff Carvalho leading the charge, we get an intimate look inside the nearly 80-year-old shop with owner Jim Korn as they comb through the store’s extensive inventory of one-of-a-kind finds.
Most people think of army surplus as simply the uniforms worn by military personnel, but there are so many other vintage accessories to geek out over, such as unissued U.S. Army WWII ribbons, British Army WWII issue motorcycle goggles and more.
Another reason why Kaufman’s is so enmeshed in NYC lore is its connection to the theater. As Korn tells it, from its very first Broadway performance, all the hyenas in Disney’s The Lion King wear military style combat boots supplied by Kaufman’s.
Perhaps Kaufman’s greatest claim to fame as it relates to the film industry was its role supplying Martin Scorsese’s cult classic Taxi Driver in 1976 starring a young Robert de Niro.
“Many people don’t realize that Kaufman’s supplied the original (M-65) jacket for Taxi Driver,” explained Korn.
So whether you’re looking for OG Alpha Industries pieces to flex in or cool, one-of-a-kind finds such as original U.S. Army WWII issue toilet tissue (unused of course), Kaufman’s has it all.
Watch the full episode above to discover the vintage items we found as Korn drops knowledge on all of us.
Check out the surplus stores from our previous episodes in Portland, Boston, and Los Angeles, and learn more about Alpha Industries.