After she lost her job, Angela Rivers found herself in need of some quick cash. Instead of heading to her bank, she delved into her Brooklyn closet. An avid shoe and handbag collector, she took out her cherished chocolate brown Birkin and went across the river to Manhattan, where she had an appointment in the chaotic diamond district at a pawnshop called New York Loan Company.
On West 47th Street, New York Loan Company visitors edge past fast-talking gold hawkers, jewelry hustlers, murmurs of Yiddish slang and ever-present police to enter the gleaming 35-story International Gem Tower, where the pawnshop is on the third floor. There Ms. Rivers planned to use her handbag for a loan.
“As soon as I walked into the beautiful building, I knew there was going to be no hanky-panky,” said Ms. Rivers, who was initially skeptical about her visit.
In the marble lobby, visitors are fingerprinted and pass through an X-ray scanner before ascending in a highly secured elevator. “I walked into that office, and I thought, this is the real deal,” Ms. Rivers said. “The level of sophistication was totally different from what I expected.”
Inside the pawnshop, glittering vintage and new diamonds and other baubles from the likes of Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier are tastefully encased in glass. Andy Warhol drawings hang alongside conceptual works by Gabriele de Santis and a series of John Baldessari photographs.
Jordan Tabach-Bank, the chief executive of New York Loan Company, picked the location because of its grand setting and high level of security. A few floors up from his pawnshop is the Gemological Institute of America, where gems are rated and future gemologists learn the trade, which explains the Fort Knox level of security.
Pawnshops, of course, aren’t simply for selling goods for a quick buck. They also allow customers to use their valuables, including something like Ms. Rivers’s Birkin, which is valued at several thousand dollars, as collateral in exchange for an on-the-spot loan. When a client pays back the loan, with interest, the valuables are returned. If the loan is not repaid, the pawnshop owns the goods, and can sell them.
Read More: BeverlyLoan.com