Stores

Oakley Store

Dropping some cool concierge knowledge:

Hey I know Summer is winding down but I wanted to share something really cool that I have been introduced too.  The Oakley Store on Fifth Avenue that has been open just over a year can make custom sunglasses on the spot!  It will literally take you longer to decide on all the options than it takes to get the actual sunglasses made. 

There are  different frame choices, lens choices and other little splashes of personality depending on the frames chosen.  I chose a cool matte black frame with little flourishes of chrome; understated elegance.  And I had them in less then 5 minutes!  The staff is great and super patient so you can get your shades just right.  

In addition to the custom sunglasses they can also do prescription sunglasses and they offer a full clothing line, ski & snowboard goggles, performance glasses, backpacks and more.   

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Iconic Store Closures

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I was downtown recently and noticed a huge change in Manhattan storefronts, the venerable J & R Music and Electronics Store had closed.  This is a continuation of closures that have taken the majority of music stores and book stores such as Tower Records, HMV, Virgin, Borders and some Barnes & Nobles to name a few.   While this is not a recent phenomenon, the closure of J&R hits a little harder since it is a New York original and maybe we should have seen it coming.  

 J & R on Park Row

J & R on Park Row

When I first moved to New York City over 16 years ago, the J & R stores encompassed a whole block.  They had stores dedicated to cameras, music, household electronics, computers and video.  I loved going from store to store and each location had experts willing to help with finding the perfect item for you.  It held an iconic location across from City Hall and at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side.  I had gone there many times and have bought items ranging from cameras, to my first flat screen TV (which I still have and works to this day) to audio equipment, DVDs and CDs.  My last purchase was less than a year ago when I got a great deal on a high end set of headphones.  It was a great store and I hated to see it slowly diminish away.  And diminish it did.  When I stopped in November it had been scaled down to one multi-leveled store, the rest of the block empty with store to rent signs.  I was surprised and saddened to see this and wondered how they had consolidated their entire inventory to fit.  The recent liquidation auctions answered that question and now they are completely closed and operate strictly as an online business.  

These continued closings are a result of a society that has moved more and more to online transactions.  Retail e-commerce as grown every year.  As more business is being done online from the comfort of our homes, less will be done in the brick and mortar stores of the past.  I am guilty of purchasing digital content and I like everyone else love the ease and speed of getting content that way.  But there is something about holding a real book in your hands instead of an iPad or listening to a an album from stereo speakers rather than tiny headphones.

As I write this another institution, Rizzoli's Book Store on 57th Street, has shuttered.  Rizzoli's say they will re-open next year in a Flatiron District location.  J&R says they will reopen as well on the corner of Park Row in the future, however when it does I predict it will be a shadow of it's former self.  This kind of business model unfortunately is just not profitable anymore, especially in Manhattan with the ridiculously high rents.  

So for now I will have to go to big box retailers like Best Buy (until they start closing) or online to purchase electronic equipment, items, books and music.  I still reminisce in the nostalgia of the old Park Row stores whenever I pass buy, but things will never be the same.


History of the Fabergé

Jacqueline Jureidini from Fabergé gives us a history lesson on the famous eggs:

It all started on the Easter of 1885 and also the twentieth wedding anniversary of Czar Alexander III and Czarina Maria Feodorovna, and the Czar needs an exceptional gift for his wife...

So he places an order with a young jeweler, Peter Carl Fabergé, whose beautiful creations have recently caught the Czarina's eye. His wife's delight is all the Czar needs to reward Fabergé with a commission for an Easter egg every year. Although the theme of the Easter eggs changes annually, the element of surprise remained a constant link between them – a  surprise suitable for the Empress! With consummate craftsmanship and an inventive spirit, Fabergé repeatedly meets the challenge, borrowing inspiration from the gilded lives of the Czar and Czarina...



Year by year, Fabergé's Imperial Easter eggs reach new heights of invention and extravagance. The Imperial Easter eggs are certainly the most celebrated and awe-inspiring of all Fabergé works of art, inextricably bound to the Fabergé name and legend. They are also considered as some of the last great commissions of objets d'art. Of the 50 Imperial eggs Fabergé made for the Imperial Family from 1885 to 1916, 43 have survived, 7 are still waiting to be found …

Happy Easter

From Jacqueline and The House of Fabergé

Fountain Pen Hospital

 image via Yelp!

image via Yelp!

With all the digital media and devices we have on ourselves these days you may wonder do I really need a pen?  Many still write down things daily and if you are one of those, you may want to invest in a premium writing instrument.  The Fountain Pen Hospital located half a block away from City Hall has a flavor for everyone and the experts to help you find your perfect instrument.  From ball points to roller balls to fountain pens, hey have a price point and style for every personality.  Pens start in the $60 range and go over $3,000 depending on the brand and material the pen is made from.  It is a veritable museum to writing instruments and these make great gifts as well for the professional in your life.

Next time you are downtown and looking for something different, stop in and take some pens for a test drive. 

FOUNTAIN PEN HOSPITAL