Word + Quiz: ephemera

Word + Quiz: ephemera

1. something transitory; lasting only for a brief time

2. items that have outlasted their original purpose and have become collectible (plural)

Most things in the shop are not for sale anyway. Mr. Hecht might make an exception for an obsessive collector of, say, thimbles or fountain pens or trench art from World War I, or for a star he recognizes who comes over from Nepenthes: “J. Lo,” said Mr. Hecht, referring to Jennifer Lopez, for example. “Fellow Bronx girl.”

But as he tells tourists daily, this is not an antique store — it is a sewing-machine repair shop.

You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Along with oil-streaked machines and cabinets of parts, Mr. Hecht — and his parents and grandparents before him — also filled the shop with 19th-century maritime ephemera (anchors, glass buoys and hand-woven hemp fenders), painted signs, neon signs, animal pelts and taxidermy, pinups and framed photos of New Yorkers, once illustrious, perhaps — and more.