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In Love With: Rainy Day Diversions

05.29.2008 by André Natta · → Leave a comment

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We’ve needed all the rain that has fallen lately, but honestly, couldn’t it pick some other time than the weekends? If storm clouds cramp your springtime style, consider it an opportunity to explore some of Birmingham’s interior attractions. Like the treasure trove that is Jim Reed Books. Or one of our fine museums—I bet there’s at least one you haven’t visited yet. And then there’s What’s On Second.

A look inside of What's on Second? acnatta/Flickr

If you haven’t yet discovered this establishment at 2306 2nd Avenue North, you’re in for a treat. It’s an antique shop, but probably not the kind you’re used to.

Most of its 2 ½ floors are a pop culture paradise, with everything from old toys and posters to vintage Valentine cards and lunchboxes (not to mention 100,000 postcards depicting just about everything—and every place—under the sun). You’ll also find furniture, jewelry, clothing, and art that ranges from the good to the weird. You could while away several rainy days trying to look at everything.

One day I want to sit down and take a look at all the Alabama postcards, which could take a while. They’re right up front, part of a prominent (and for-sale) collection of Birmingham and Alabama items. I’ve seen a set of drinking glasses from long-gone department stores, 50-year-old pennants from local high schools–and even a chunk of the façade from the original Tutwiler Hotel. The selection throughout the store changes often, so there’s always something new to see.

Upstairs, you’ll find more Alabama items—mainly large prints made from some of the vintage postcards downstairs. They’ve got plenty of old-time images of Birmingham and surrounding areas, and the best part is that they’re inexpensive, so you can take home a bit of the city’s history.

What’s On Second also hosts art openings and special events throughout the year, including an annual vintage T-shirt show/sale. Check out their website for more information, or simply stop by the shop, whether it’s raining or not.

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