Tucked in a corner off of Washington Square Park, amid the tobacco shops and cheap pizza, there’s a store that could only exist in an obsessive Coen Brothers fan’s imagination — or in Greenwich Village. It’s called “Little Lebowski,” and, yes, it’s a store devoted to all things Lebowski. Within the narrow confines of the shop, the Dude certainly abides: Not only is there a myriad of Lebowski t-shirts, action figures, bumper stickers, and memorabilia to choose from, but the store owner, Roy Preston, greets you from behind an In-and-Out counter dressed in a bathrobe and slippers. Grab your bowling shoes and a White Russian and join us for a guided tour of Little Lebowski, after the jump.
The Little Lebowski opened its doors in December 2009, to the enthusiasm of Dude-followers everywhere. Preston, from behind the counter, noted that the majority of his customers are not, in fact, stoned NYU freshmen (though we assume there are plenty of them, too) but tourists. Particularly European tourists. Who knew the Dude had such international appeal?
Though the amount of Lebowski-related items for sale is numerous — action figures, posters, coffee mugs — the most popular items are good old-fashioned t-shirts. This one in particular is a big customer favorite. We’re guessing it’s because of the limitless sex appeal of John Goodman.
The art in the store — including this cutout of Saddam Hussein offering you bowling shoes — was designed by Preston, though some of it was done by other Lebowski fans and collaborators. “I wanted it to feel like a set piece as much as a store,” Preston said. There are also posters on the walls filled with fans’ favorite quotes. Preston hopes that they’ll assemble a whole wall of movie lines eventually.
With Halloween around the corner, Lebowski costumes remain a popular option for the dress-up slackers in all of us — just add bowling ball and bathrobe. For those slightly more adventurous, Preston carries these Jesus costumes and action figures.
Preston occasionally gets notes of appreciation from passersby and Lebowski fans from all over. This note was good enough to frame and put on the In-and-Out counter, right beside his carton of milk.
Preston shows off his full get-up, and the view of the store from the back. “Everyone’s seen the movie a million times,” he said. “They just come in and quote lines from it back and forth.” Total geek out.
Our favorite t-shirt of the many on display: Larry’s homework on the Louisiana Purchase, complete with red markings. As Walter might say, “You’re entering a world of pain, son. We know this is your homework.”
For the psycho bowling fan in everyone: a cutout that lets you pose as Jesus, no purple jumpsuit required. Pretty much the only thing we found missing from the Little Lebowski was a bowling alley. But there’s only so much you can do in an NYU storefront.
The Little Lebowski is located at 215 Thompson Street, NYC.