February 3, 2013

Bleecker Life


Thom Browne for Black Fleece Bleecker St. Exclusive Key Ring

When I moved to New York, my first job was at a store on Bleecker Street.  I was a little weirded out because the street's name is a homophone for a word meaning "hopeless."  I couldn't be more wrong.  The friends that I met (including Anthony Amadeo who took these pictures), the beautiful walk to work, and life in the West Village were all instrumental in my assimilation to the city.  I have since moved on but I carry this with me as a reminder of life on Bleecker St.  I was returning from my last-day-at-work lunch with a co-worker and we popped into Black Fleece to check out their sale.  The store was a few doors down from ours but I never stopped by.  That was surprising considering I adore the Black Fleece in San Francisco, the only other stand alone store in the US.  After weeping quietly about being low on funds to splurge on wool suits and precious knits, we toured the rest of the store for accessories.  The first thing that caught my eye was this Bleecker St. key ring.  It was bold, graphic, and the perfect keepsake for my time in the area.  I was sold immediately - but it was a good thing I sounded hesitant by asking if the hardware came in silver because the sales associate closed the deal by explaining that the piece is only available at the Bleecker St. store and he would have Thom Browne sign it himself!

I had seen Thom Browne walking around the neighborhood on occasion.  He lives in the area, so whenever I caught a glimpse of a cropped pant or a flash of a red, white, and blue ribbon on the cuff of a calf skin brogue my heart would skip a beat.  He really dresses like that every day.  I never had the opportunity to approach him, so to have him personalize something would be the cherry on top of this sweet purchase.  I wish they had a Fillmore St. version in San Francisco, but alas this is the only one.  The gold finish on the hardware compliments the deep navy of the contrasting leather.  It appears black at first like in these photos, but in better lighting the navy is a subtle surprise.  Brooks Brothers logos are stamped into the charm attached to the ring, as well as on the claw attachment.    

Special items like this key ring have so much meaning when you get them at a destination location.  It isn't about exclusivity, more so it is about the pride that comes from supporting one of your favorite places; a badge of honor of you will.  I like Black Fleece, Thom Browne, and the West Village.  I will always remember walking from 14th St. and 8th Ave. on a beautiful sunny morning, smelling the freshly baked cupcakes at Magnolia, and smiling about the fact that I moved to New York City by myself to follow a dream.  This key ring is the perfect memento for that.

- jerome

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