I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 9
The next step in the pursuit of cool was to acquire cool clothing. I couldn’t continue to wear my Grandfather’s old sweaters or depend on finding more of Jerry’s cast-offs. The ever giving Priscilla offered to take me shopping.
With a fresh $100 bill in my pocket, acquired through some untruth told to my father or some shameful slight of hand, we arrived at the appointed rendezvous spot: St. Marks Place. While I don’t recall the names of any of the shops we hit, we most definitely did not visit Trash and Vaudeville. That was too punk and seemingly too pricey. We may have swung by Cheap Jacks, and later on Canal Jean, which always had bins of low priced clothing lining the sidewalk. Regardless of where we went, by the end of our rounds I ended up with two flecked jackets, one gray with while flecks and one black with red flecks, two pairs of pegged pants, one black and one grayish silver, and two, fifties style two-toned shirts, one blue with white stitching and one tan with brown and metallic buttons. On the one hand I have trouble believing we were able to score this much clothing for $100, but after going through a simple financial analysis, it’s reasonable to see that at $15 a pop plus tax it was doable. In retrospect, even that amount seems pricey, as the racks and bins of $2 and $5 clothing seemed plentiful at the time.
One vivid memory of the experience: at a store on 1st avenue on the south side of St. Marks Place, I dropped my $100 bill. I nonchalantly picked it up while Priscilla panicked: “Careful! The junkies will start swarming!” She obviously knew something I didn’t.
I now had an understanding of how the system worked: retro, used and vintage clothing shops were the way to go. Raiding your uncool parent’s closet wasn’t…unless of course they used to be in a motorcycle gang.
© Curt Weiss 2014