15 August 2014

The Beretta Gallery of New York City

Beretta employee, Moses Gutierrez with a 20 gauge Silver Pigeon 1 ( $2,240) 

I first bumped into the NYC Beretta Gallery about five years ago.  Town-housed among Manhattan's retail townhouses;  Hermès,  Etro,  Longchamp, Chanel, and so many others…I was actually just looking for a pair of khakis.  I pushed open the Beretta door, walked past security and was slapped in the face with racks and racks of obscenely beautiful apparel.

Wool and Waxed Cotton jacket in the Maremmana style ($1,295)

It was a London flashback, what with tweed, moleskin, chukka and waxed cotton.  Gravitas on the order of Jermyn Street,  Cuban cigars and 25 year old single malts drunk from engraved pheasant whiskey tumblers.

Moleskin suit with side vents (Jacket $535 Trousers $165)

Luckily I stumbled onto a sale -- Even better as I had a little money back then.  There was a lot I should've bought that day but didn't and learned a lesson.  Much of what you see in the NYC Gallery is unique to the store.  Once it's gone, you may never see it again.  Of course,  I was here for a pair of khakis.  

Second Floor

Looking back, it seems a shame  shopping for khakis in Beretta --  Sort of like visiting Umbria on the wagon.

Competition Shooting

It's hard to describe just how diverse the gallery is.  Roaming around on my last visit, I heard a man walk in and announce, "I've been invited to a shoot in Spain."  I looked down from the second floor balcony and watched as the salesman sprung into action while those words, "I've been invited to a shoot…" bounced jealously between my ears.

Main Floor

While outdoor retailer's, Kevin's and Cabela's offer over the top decor, Beretta manages to pull off the outdoors aesthetic with understated elegance.  Chalk it up to to Beretta's hometown of Brescia 'cause this ain't meatballs and gravy.

In store Italian made checks ($155)

Much of what is in the NYC Gallery is not on line and much of what is on line is not in the NYC Gallery.  Still, a past visit to the Beretta website found an olive moleskin maremmana hunting jacket, sadly long gone,  for a surprising  $99.

In store Suede chukka ($423)

A women's wool felt cap made by Pennsylvania's Bollman Hat Company is currently on sale for $37.50 marked down from $75...

Beretta Sole
And a men's quilted waxed cotton biker jacket has been reduced from $595 to $279.

Khakis ($75)

But I was looking for khakis.

And at $75, they're made in the US and something of a surprise.  I had mine cuffed and there was no extra charge.

That's the thing about Beretta.  You can find a $20 ball cap...

Or, there's a $140 number that looks like a Vietnam boonie hat I lusted after when I was in the Army.

Field watches are reasonable…

Field Watches (Quartz $229 Automatic $389)

Women's Quilted Shooting Jacket ($875)

Women's Scarves ($895)

Carafe Gift Set ($149)

The engraved carafe and glasses are available in store and on-line... 

Martini Pitcher $200

While the best looking cocktail pitcher I have ever seen is only in the store.  A steal and you're only seeing it because I gave up martinis.

Ice Bucket $2,200

I haven't given up ice but the elephant foot ice bucket is a good example of Beretta's price swing.

And like the 32" barrels on the $2,000 Silver Pigeon, there's value in Beretta.  It's under the radar for most NYC  residents.  Save those types who go shooting in Spain.

13 July 2014

Until Next Year

Not as good as it was -- Better than it will be

09 July 2014

Shagging in the Past

You've said that you regarded respectability as one of the
prime enemies of individualism.  Do you regard love as 
an enemy of individualism?

No, no --  What's love got to do with respectability?

I posted this video in April of 2012 with Al Green's lyrics.  Seems appropriate to repost today.

I remember heading down to Myrtle Beach for a long weekend with two cars of Army buddies when I was stationed at Ft Bragg.  I was 20 and wound up dancing with a frosted blonde in her forties. She had long pink nails and held a Schlitz 'Tall Boy' in one hand and an Eve cigarette in the other. She taught me how to shag.

The past is never dead. It's not even past.  William Faulkner

08 July 2014

Is Turkey Red Too Red?

Back in the early 19th century, Turkey Reds, aka Adrianople Reds, were a madder based dye with Turkish origins. These patterns were only printed much later by an Alsatian who solved the problem of over printing on the intense color.

I'm way out of my comfort margin here but I love the patterns and if anything ever said, "Go to Hell," or worse, it's Turkey Red. I'm not a 100% on this but I'm thinking about it. With a black velvet dinner jacket at a New Year's party… I might. Would you?

03 July 2014

01 July 2014

"I'm Gonna Die…" Part II

"A Dangerous Place"

"I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die…" went through my head as I sat in the tub while the scuba diver's battery powered legs flapped away.  Suddenly no interest in scuba.  Intently focused on footsteps approaching door.  A Door opens -- shoulders involuntarily hunch up at the anticipation of being popped from behind. But I'm not popped.  He puts the toilet seat down opposite the tub, sits and leans toward me -- Almost like he's begging.

"We live in a dangerous place," he says.   "And today you were in a very dangerous part of where we live.  We don't want you to get hurt.

Everything says I made it.  No killing.  No chewing out.  Nothing.  I'm home free. He leaves and I happily go back to the scuba diver.  And so it became my protection.  Not the scuba diver.  Thinking the worse will happen.  Think it, and it will NOT happen.

I'm not gonna pass 2nd grade.

I'm not gonna get a new bike.

We're not gonna go camping.

My parachute is not going to open.

She's pregnant.

I'm gonna get a DUI

Most of the time it worked.  I still do it --  I still think I'm gonna die.

Dirty White Bucks

Purchased in 1984

They were partly a middle finger to the college establishment who instructed males that graduation dress would be white shirt, dark trousers with black shoes and black robes.  I wore a pink shirt, white duck trousers, pink argyle socks and these shoes … 30 years ago.

They were resoled in 1996 and haven't been touched since.  The brand is lost to the ages but the wear is honest.  30 Summers and never a season more.  That's not so much a rule as a personal code -- It's the same reason I wouldn't intentionally 'distress' them or anything else I own.

Sometimes it's hard being honest... but a man's shoes should never have to lie.

30 June 2014

"I'm Gonna Die…" Part I

Same bike at Ft Bragg - Post Beatles - Sans Peace Symbol

The first bicycle appeared in the garage of our quarters on Ft Sill. Red with white trim,  it had what might be termed today, "a hipster aesthetic" in that it was clunky, void of all frills and extremely utilitarian.  Which is to say, in 1962, it sucked.  What it did offer, on an army post,  was freedom and an extended range.

I was found on the business side of an artillery range by the MPs with a friend who showed the way. We were walking around mostly desert with tumble weeds when we saw a large unexploded round circled by white engineer tape.  And another and another. 

Even at seven,  I was thinking we might be in over our heads and was secretly relieved when the MPs showed up -- After a brief and friendly interrogation I would have the time of my short life riding home in an open jeep with the wind blowing through my pre-Beatles crew cut.  My mother could only say, "Wait until your father gets home" over and over.   

There is a unwritten law for military brats and it's this, "Whatever you do is a direct reflection on your father and his career.  Drugs, black market, shop lifting in the PX, wearing long hair & peace symbols…the list goes on.  This law eases up when living off post but when then neighbors see you being driven up to your home in a MP jeep…there's not much room to hide.  

I was in the tub playing with a battery powered scuba diver when I heard the front door open.  Until I heard the door, I was a blissful million miles away in a seven-year-old attention span.  The scuba diver in the tub.  The monkey banging cymbals in my head.  All of it came to a dead stop when the door opened and I knew…without any doubt, I was going to die.  

29 June 2014

Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch, 2004

Merde, time flies.

19 June 2014

Turning Lemons Into Friends

One of the things I like about Arthur is the distance he's managed to travel so far off the reservation. Unashamedly original, Arthur Lhermitte is the owner of Striiiipes, a small on-line shop in Paris.  I've written about Arthur before and I believe he stands on the firmest ground when it comes to matters of taste - without being pretentious - while being just a little crazy. No small feat. Unlike the Chinese who have very small feet. Why is that?

This pocket square (I rarely wear pocket squares, or tie bars, or dental floss around my wrists) is one of three (Pico, Tonic & Peps) echoing vintage fruit wrappers back when fruit was important enough to be have a wrapper of its own. It's a voile-like silk perfect for Summer. So light it almost seems to fly away in the pocket.

Perfect for an unlined blazer of hopsack or a linen jacket and open collared shirt. It would make a great gift when someone least expects it. Not for father's day or a birthday but just because… Give one to an old friend you recently pissed off. That's the title of the post, you know; "Turning Lemons Into Friends." Life's too short to hold a grudge that can be gotten rid of for a lousy 36 Euros. Although, I may not have enough to buy for the Chinese.