50 years ago today in Dallas TX, President John F Kennedy was assassinated and it forever changed America. Most people who were alive at that time can tell you exactly what they were doing when they heard the news. The nation was in shock and it is still mourning his death today. While there is still a lot of mystery around the assassination, I think it symbolized something bigger. I believe the assassination ended the greatest era in the United States. From the end of World War II (August 1945) through the assassination was America’s Golden Age. We were prosperous, the free world looked to us for hope and freedom. It was a time when movie stars hung out with politicians and gangsters. We were about having fun, drinking smoking and just worrying about enjoying ourselves and not living long miserable life, but a short happy one. Then November 22, 1963 came and the party came to a crashing end. Before the 1960s were over we saw riots in the streets and two more major assassinations (Robert F Kennedy & Martin Luther King Jr). The world grew up and I think that is a shame. So in my small little mind I divide this country’s history as Before JFK assassination and After JFK assassination.
I wasn’t around then, because I was born in 1966, but like 9/11 for me, November 22, 1963 will be a day many Americans will never forget.
Mr President may you rest in peace.
Well folks, here is my first rant! It took me a couple of weeks, but as you spend more time on this site and blog you will learn I like to rant about things. So here it goes
What is with men and women Fist Pumping. I asked someone what is the deal and the response was “so you don’t get germs”. I had to laugh. I work in Manhattan and folks just so you know “IT IS A FILTHY PLACE”? There are germs all around us. Really protect you from germs????
In my view a Gentleman shakes someone’s hand upon meeting them. A nice old fashioned firm hand shake. When I extend my hand lately I say “I am old school, I believe in Hand Shakes not Fist Pumps. When I was growing up my father taught me that when I meet someone you should look them in the eye say hello and give them a firm hand shake (with the right hand). That is what I do to this day.
In this modern High Tech world we have become to casual about everything, from clothes, to grooming, and even in the way we greet people. Look I love the modern conveniences that we have today, but please folks let’s not forget what made us great and the hand shake while might seem trivial it’s not.
Try it go shake someone’s hand most people forget how. Just go up to someone, look them in the eye, say hello and give them a firm hand shake. Don’t worry about germs, that is what soap is for, we will get into people who don’t wash their hands soon enough.
Until then “May you Live until 100 and mine be the last voice you here.
Unless you are 6’0” tall and weigh 165lbs, I recommend getting custom clothes. Just to be clear I am talking about custom dress shirts, suits, sport coats and slacks. Great reasons to buy custom:
- The clothes fit right
- The choices are unlimited
- The quality is great
- It is a lot fun
- Free alterations for life of the garment
- It is CHEAPER!!! Yes in the long run it is cheaper; your cost per wear will be less.
If you are like me, someone who loves to dress, but is blessed with being under 5’ 10” and over 200lbs, you know that shopping for clothes can be a pain. How it used to go for me. When I needed (or wanted) a new suit I would go to SAKS, Nordstrom, or Bloomingdales and go to the Men’s Department and look around and leave because they didn’t have my size. So I would end up at Jos A Bank and they would have two or three suits/sport jackets in my size. I am also blessed with a 19” neck so shirt selection wasn’t so great either. I would buy my suit and two shirts and spend about $650 for the suit and $100 per shirt; my alterations for the suit and shirt were about $250 and $40 respectively (NOTE TO REMEMBER FIT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING). So my total cost for 1 suit and 2 shirts were about $1,280. I never thought of buying custom because I always thought it would cost me $2,500 – $3,500 for a custom made suit so I never bothered. A friend introduced once to a custom suit maker and it was less expensive than I thought and I haven’t bought a suit in a department store since. Besides getting great clothes the best part of buying custom is the experience.
So when I need (I always want) to get a new suit. The first thing I do now is take a trip to J Lucas Clothiers at 347 Fifth Avenue Suite 307 (between 33rd & 34th Streets) and see my friend Neil. I walk into the nice studio and sit down on a comfortable couch and Neil will ask me what I am looking for. After I explain what is want and the price range I want to spend (you can also call a head so Neil is ready for you), Neil will bring me the books, I will look through hundreds of fabrics and pick one, or two. Then we pick the lining and discuss other aspects of the suit. Neil has some very creative ideas and neat stylish things that he does. You then have hundreds of fabrics for shirts. You select the fabric, collar style, cuff (Always get French) and monogram. When you are done you have created a unique suit that is just your style. For your first visit you will need to be measured which takes about a half hour after that it just pick the fabrics and discuss some details and you are on your way. In about four weeks you go back to Neil for a fitting. After that in about a week you walk out with a suit fit for you and your style and people will take notice. Neil also has a great selection of accessories such as Pocket Squares or Rounds, Cuff Links, and Ties. The best part is the cost; depending on the fabrics the cost is not ridiculous. My last purchase at J Lucas for a fully custom made suit and two dress shirts that fit me PERFECTLY costs about $1,350. That’s less than $100 more than the crap I used to get at the department store. Even if its still a little pricey for you, most custom shops can and will work with you on fabric selection and limits on lining and other areas. But I highly recommend checking a J Lucas at www.jlucasclothiers.com
Today’s post is a sad one. This is for you Rev; I will miss you a lot.
The 21 Club, just the name says old school. The 21 Club opened in its current location at midnight on December 31, 1929 and it is the only former Speakeasy still operating under its name. I can write for hours about 21. It appeared in movies; hell it’s where Gordon Gecko told Bud Fox to get some new suits. I love taking new people to the 21, it makes me feel good to show these people what old New York really looks like. As we walk along West 52nd from 5th Avenue we pass by skyscraper after skyscraper and then all of a sudden you see the wrought iron fence and gate and three little brownstones stuck in between all the skyscrapers. I love the look on their faces when they see all the Lawn Jockeys. We turn walk down the steps and the doorman opens the door and says “Welcome to 21”. We step inside and are greeted with “Hello Mr. Schall welcome back”. We check our coats (and my hat) and the Matre D’ Aaron says, “good evening Mr. Schall your table is ready”. I walk through the Legendary Bar room give my waiter Silvio a hug and hand shake and they slide out Table 54, we sit and get ready for a special night. Later Phil comes over and selects a bottle of wine; we order the famous Steak Tartar and our dinner. After dinner and desert, we get a tour of the wine cellar (a whole separate post will be about the wine cellar). It’s almost a perfect, I am with friends or business associates, great food, service and just about the coolest place on earth. But it’s not perfect because I didn’t go to the bathroom yet and it’s the Men’s Washroom at the 21 Club that makes it so special. When you open the door you are met by Lorenzo “The Reverend” Robinson who has a big smile on his face and say to me “MY BROTHER MY BROTHER IT IS SO WONDERFUL TO SEE YOU” and then gives me a big hug. He talks politics and preaches Reaganomics and calls for world leaders to be more like Reagan and then he shows off the cuff links that Ronald Reagan took off his shirt and gave to him. He would tell stories of meeting Nelson Mandela, Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush (only the first) all in the little washroom of 21. If ladies were with me on the trip, I would bring the Reverend out to meet them (Because you haven’t been to 21 if you didn’t meet the Rev). I can hear him now “MY LORD MY LORD YOU LADIES ARE BEAUTIFUL, NOW I KNOW WHY BEYONCE’ AND HALLE BERRY CANCELED THEIR RESERVATIONS TONIGHT”. I would give him a hug say goodnight to the rest of the staff and be on my way and know that I just had the perfect night.
Those perfect nights will never happen again, because on Thursday October 24th The Reverend passed away. I was sitting getting my shoes shined and was reading the New York Post and on page 7 it read ‘CLUB’S WASHROOM LENGEND MOURNED, BELOVED REV FOREVER “21”. I sat shocked, when I got to my office I was walking around holding the paper open showing everyone who ever went to 21 with me. Someone said that I looked like I lost my best friend, I respond yea pretty much. I went to my office and shed a tear for my lost Pally. I thought about the time a few years back, when I was walking through Grand Central Station with some of my co-workers and the Rev saw me on the steps and ran over to me and gave me a Big Bear Hug. The people I was with were amazed, but it was just the Rev being the Rev.
Life is funny; you meet thousands of people and can’t remember most of them. I ask how many washroom attendants have you met in your life? A lot and I bet you don’t remember any of them. However if you just met the Rev once you will never forget. I know if I died today the New York Post wouldn’t even mention it. However, the Rev made Page 7. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of a Man the Rev was then nothing will. For over 20 years this man worked 14 hours a day never late always with a smile. If all of us with take pride in our jobs and the Rev did in his, this country and world would be a better place.
GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY LORENZO, I WILL MISS YOU FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. THE 21 WILL NEVER BE THE SAME….
GOOD NIGHT PALLY UNTIL NEXT TIME….