Shop for Watermelon Dishware or a Human Skeleton at Lion Antiques
On the periphery of Atherton Street and that Vietnamese restaurant, Pho 11, stands a ramshackle shop called “Lion Antiques.”
Its storefront is decorated with a variety of curios — from a collection of books about witchcraft to a number of disembodied doll heads. Curious, I tried to enter, but I was quickly thwarted by a locked door.
Since I had spent all of 10 minutes biking all the way to this favela, I wasn’t just going to go home unrewarded. That would have meant defeat. So I decided to call the number printed on Lion Antiques’ window, on the off-chance that there was some worker inside who would help me out with my inquiries.
The phone had rang twice when I heard someone pick up.
He was breathing into the receiver. “…Hello?” I practically whispered into my phone.
Five seconds went by without him saying anything. Then he disconnected.
Perturbed, I shuffled back to my bike, deciding to come back later, when I knew that Lion Antiques would be open. It was a decision that I did not regret.
About two hours later I strolled back over, with a florescent ‘Open’ sign inviting me in. From the inside, Lion Antiques was a lot cozier than I had expected, with stuff piled up on every wall and in every crevasse. Here’s a brief list of the odds and ends I spotted during my time there:
- A medley of watermelon-themed dishware
- One giant clown head covered in nails
- A 22-inch diameter chandelier from the main lobby of the Waldorf hotel in New York City
- A 17th-century puppet from the Smithsonian museum
- Over 40 dolls of varying shape and size
- Some framed vintage nudes
- Six katanas
- A signed copy of Cher’s Autobiography
- Pictures of the owner with Vanilla Ice and Van Halen
- A giant UFO that was used on set in the 1996 film Mars Attacks
- One human skeleton (pictured below)
Resting on top of a showcase, in a dense, black coffin, sat the remains of some poor 19th-century soul who had sold her body to science. No word on how the manager of the store had acquired this skeleton, but he’s hoping to sell it for a measly $1,000.
So, for those of you who are hoping to acquire something of a more macabre decoration for your dorm room, or just hoping to uncover some long-forgotten mystery, Lion Antiques is the place to go.
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