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Bringing the Happy

Bringing the Happy

When you think of Tribeca in New York City, you might picture industrial-turned-loft buildings like the Cary Building and commercial centerpieces like the New York Mercantile Exchange. It’s a neighborhood that’s the home of the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival, NYU Law School, and The Roxy Hotel. It’s also where Sharon Hershkowitz runs her grandiosely decoratedshop, Balloon Saloon. 

Since 1981, the 1,000-square-foot shop housed in a landmarked building on the corner of Duane and W. Broadway has been serving the neighborhood — and its surrounding boroughs — with the best balloon bouquets and décor money can buy for any occasion. 

Its motto is “We bring the happy,” and so it does; with the variety of products offered and the outdoor delight that is an inflated display. The outside of Balloon Saloon gives off happy vibes to the thousands of passersby on a daily basis.

Balloon Saloon is somewhat of a celebrity in New York. “We’ve built arches for the Pride Parade, balloon garland for films and television shows, balloon columns for magazines and photo shoots,” Hershkowitz shared. The shop’s balloons have graced the pages of Nordstrom, Macys, Hermès and J. Crew catalogs, and you will be able to see the shop in the next Bill Murray film, “On the Rocks.”

Balloon Saloon carries a full line of latex and Mylar balloons, and it stays up on the trends for both balloon designs and when it comes to products to carry.

“Organic walls and garland are all the rage today,” said Hershkowitz when asked about popular designs. 

While some shop owners see the helium shortage as detrimental to their business, Hershkowitz sees a challenge to be accepted. “(The) helium shortage has created an innovative approach to balloon décor,” she said. With this, she added that her staff of 30 tries to use support systems and overhead hookups whenever they can. The shop utilized these air-filled innovation and support systems when it decorated the building’s façade to celebrate the beginning of spring this past year.

If balloon sales happen to be down at all, Balloon Saloon has a backup. In fact, it has a lot of backups. “We are a unique vintage toy, gag, book and ultimately cool gift shop,” said Hershkowitz. Retro video games and old school toys that bring back fond memories are at the top of the list. The shop has been around for 38 years, and has seen its previous customers come in with their own kids, reminiscing. 

This Tribeca staple has seen a lot in its nearly four decades in business, and no shortage or changing of trends will stop it from being around for the next four.

Originally posted Friday, Sep. 20, 2019