New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, October 10, 2008

New York Moment

Sometimes everything just clicks. My best friend from college called me earlier this week to let me know that he would be in NYC at 5:30 AM, today, Friday. I cleared my day for him - he is fun incarnate and is usually up for doing just about anything. This man is one of those people that is immediately likable.
He was my first friend and college roommate in New York City - a Jew from Brooklyn. He taught me the ins and outs of this town and how to bankface my money. I learned what bagels, delis, egg creams and greasy spoons were.
With no specific agenda, we started with breakfast at a diner - Joe Jrs. He said he wanted to visit a OK Cigars at 383 West Broadway in SoHo. Perfect, because he has a rental car, we are both ex taxicab drivers and we love an adventure. I don't smoke, but a cigar store sounds like an interesting visit. The weather is absolutely perfect.
But we arrive 30 minutes before this shop opens. As we ponder what to do, the owner, Len Brunson, arrives early and welcomes us in. Our luck just seems to be getting better. I ask about his policy regarding photography and he just loves the idea - not the case with every store. We both agree how puzzling it is to have such restrictions and how antithetical it is to a business venture.
There is a loft in this small, wonderful shop. Am I allowed to go up the treacherous ladder to take photos from the small loft area? A resounding yes. I find some great vantage points for shooting from above while my friend makes a purchase of $288. It certainly was worthwhile for the owner to open early.
Ok Cigars, opened in 1997, is a high end cigar retailer. They also have an extensive selection of one of a kind antique smoking accessories. The shop has a tremendous woodsy, antique ambiance and is worth a visit, even if you are not a smoker. You can take a virtual tour of the store at their website. Len Benson is one of the nicest, most congenial and accommodating stores owners I have met.
The whole experience was a New York moment and at 11 AM, the day is just starting. We are going out to Brooklyn and will investigate Coney Island in its current state. Stay tuned for a recap next week of this outing :)


Wayne said...

I don't smoke either but there is something unique about genuine tobacconists and cigar shops. They often have all sorts of odds and ends for sale that one doesn't see in other shops.

As a kid I found he pipes fascinating.

Thanks Brian, I look forward to the next installment from this adventure.

Anil P said...

What a nice feel to the place, so well captured.

I really could never understand why there hould be a restriction on photography, ever, more so in public places.

As a documentary form it is art, a chronicle, a record.

Cheers to Les Benson. Is there a picture of him in his shop that we can see?

marley said...

Sounds like a brilliant day lies ahead. Great photo opportunity that came your way.

Blognote said...

This place has a very nice feel to it, especially when you can share it with a good friend like you have described your pal!

lalo said...

WOW, cant wait for the coney island post, i wanted to be there so much since i read delirious new york - (rem koolhaas), and i finally got to know coney island, it was a sad rainy day, on august, and it was very ugly, but it is still stuck in my head until today

Bryan said...

You mentioned that your friend taught you how to bankface your money. What does "bankface" mean? I thought I could find out via Google, but no luck. Thank you for this awesome photoblog.

Bryan said...

Brian Dubé said... Bankfacing is to order your bills: all face up, facing the same direction, largest bills on the inside, smallest on the outside. This way you can most rapidly find the assortment of paper money without rifling through all your bills.