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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Go, Johnny, Go

The clothes at Speakeasy Vintage took me back to Lucy's rich wardrobe.
Such a day. Dara told Figgy about a great vintage clothing store right in Montclair, so we checked it out. It's upstairs at 465 Bloomfield Avenue [kind of across from Church Street] and called Speakeasy Vintage. Consider it a secret trove of treasures from the 1920s through 1980s.

We were buzzed in. From the moment we entered, Johnny, the owner [he owns it with his brother] was engaging, kind and wonderful. He was dressed in hip vintage wear, right down to the gold mesh band on his wristwatch. Figgy and I loved the place. It was like a cross between a fashion museum and a store. Among favorite sightings:
  • Lulu Guinness tote in mint condition, $99.
  • Beaded cashmere cardigans, absolutely stunning.
  • Jet black jewelry--I bought a pair of clip-on earrings priced at $22. You get 10% off when you drop in the first time, so I saved $2.20.
  • A gorgeous black dress with pleated skirt and satin bow at waist, totally Audrey Hepburn, $200. It would look so great on Figgy.
  • Authentic flapper dress, traveling case, hats, silver shoes, even vintage swimming costumes, one in itchy wool, one lady's set with pantaloons. God, look what they swam in! All in impeccable condition. So rich, so Mad Men, so Audrey, so Lucy Ricardo. 
But it gets better. I want to live here, Figgy said. Johnny told her about Dominick [sp?], a senior at Montclair High who works at the store and is in the Fashion Club at school. Figgy is so into fashion design--last night, she hand-sewed a shirtdress and an amazing ruffle-collar shirt from two of H.'s old shirts [one white, one navy plaid]. But she's been floundering and kind of shy about finding her niche after school. Johnny called Dominick, and put Fig on the phone with him. She found out that the club meets Wednesdays after school. Exciting to see her following her passion, in these first formative steps. I'm so happy for her. [Speakeasy Vintage, 973.783.4911. I know we'll be back, and want H. to check out the cool menswear.]

In the afternoon, we drove into Little Italy with Moey and Laura for the annual San Gennaro Festival on Mulberry Street*. I've long seen those red, white and green tinsel arches over the street, but don't think I've ever gone to the feast. We drove a while to find a spot; finally paid $34 for two hours in a garage. Then we joined the throng of pedestrians, flowing past stands selling sausage and peppers; fried Oreos and Twinkies; zeppole; calamari; cannolis of every stripe; gelato; homemade wine; meatballs; lasagna; pizza pie; calzones; fruity cocktails; torrone; and rainbow cookies--oh, and we also saw the statue of San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples. What a colorful place. It made me think of my grandma, and my Dad--though I don't know if they ever went to the feast. One of many things I didn't have a chance to ask Dad. Since it's been going on for 85 years, maybe they did.

I bought H. six pignoli cookies--his favorite--at Ferrara. It was a fun day.

Good night.

  1. Wheat roll and some veggies.
  2. Walked at San Gennaro Feast--but not that far, and surely cancelled out by lunch portion of fettuccine alfredo and three zeppole.
  3. Walked Sug around block once.
*My oldest brother, J., lived in a big loft on Mulberry Street for a long time and we went there every Christmas for a delicious homemade feast that often began with Italian treats like fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and good bread. I think of him often, but especially every time I'm on or even pass the street. He has pretty much drifted away from us and I haven't seen him in over 10 years. It's sad. I hope I get to see him again one day. But if the past holds true, he won't return calls or invitations when I reach out. It gets hard, and puzzling. Most people like me, and he used to, too. What happened?


  1. Sounds like such a great day. I always get so jealous when you write about hopping over to NYC fun places... and the clothing store sounds so interesting. Hope things are going well. Say hi to all. Love, Linda

  2. True story ... back in the 1970s, there was a corner store in my hometown called People's Place. I was too little to go there, or to know much about it, but there was a teenage boy who started working there to learn as much as he could about fashion. His name is Tommy Hilfiger. :) Good luck to your fashionable Figgy!

  3. Eileen--wow!!!! wait till I tell Fig that story :) Lin, when are you and Judi coming up to NYC? can you give me some day choices? Sis usually has off on Wed. and Fri., or weekends. love, alice

  4. Hi Alice. We would like to try (again) to get there when Judi is feeling up to snuff. She has one chemo month to go – 2/3 done......
    Love, Lin