A few weeks ago, I was running some errands in Manhattan. The list of things to do included buying a new winter paper boy cap, meeting my tailor for a fitting, and getting a buzz and straight razor shave at Freemans Sporting Club. In between, I stopped for a dozen oysters and a carafe of Muscadet at Balthazar because I was hungry, know what I mean? But let's rewind to the new hat part of my journey.
I went to Arnold Hatters on 8th Avenue and 37th Street because that is my first and usually only choice when purchasing a new lid. For vintage hats, I go to an undisclosed location in Carrol Gardens. Now as everyone knows, Arnold HattersKnox Hats store. The owner told me the store had been in the family since then, so as I was buying my new brown/orange/beige hounds tooth wool lid by Stefano (made in Italy), I decided to show him my vintage fedora (bought at my secret find in Brooklyn). used to be located across from Port Authority in the old
The fedora is a Knox Hats original, brown felt, with black band from the late 1950s/early 60s. It is practically dead stock with perfect lining, and strong brim. The owner of Arnold's took one look at it and called over his son.
"They don't make them like this anymore. Look at the craftsmanship."
He then asked if I minded if he brushed it for me and offered a complimentary hat steaming. I told him to go right ahead and he meticulously brushed the hat and steamed the sides to open it up.
"What a beautiful hat, you know how much a hat like this would cost today..$200 easy!"
His attention and caring was a sight to behold and almost brought a tear to my eye.
Once I got the fedora back and swore an oath to keep it pristine, he told me:
"Come back anytime ... with the hat."