Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tie cleaning in New York

In New York: A Serendipiter’s Journey (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961), Gay Talese describes New York as a city in which “a former adman, Stuart Bart, has made a fortune by cleaning only ties.”

Stuart Bart was the subject of “Expressing the Id,” a New Yorker “Talk of the Town” piece (April 10, 1954). In 1954, Bart was the vice-president of Stuart Bart Advertising (founded 1939) and the president of Tiecrafters, Inc. (founded 1952). In 1954, Tiecrafters, located on East 57th Street, was cleaning 7500 ties a month, at fifty cents a tie. A 1961 New York Times article reported that the company had five Manhattan locations. Today Tiecrafters is still in business on West 29th Street, cleaning ties and scarves and doing alterations. “Tie slimming” is a real thing, though it sounds like a premise for a Bob and Ray sketch.

The “Talk of the Town” item has some choice observations from Bart. For instance:

“A tie represents not only your personality but your mood. What I call the Visible V — the triangular area between coat lapels — offers a modern businessman his only means of expressing his id sartorially.”
“You should place your tie under your collar before getting into your shirt.”
So I’ve been going about it all wrong. Not only do I wait to put tie under collar; I don’t even get into my shirts. I put them on.

Also from New York: A Serendipiter’s Journey
Chestnuts, pigeons, statues
“Fo-wer, fi-yiv, sev-ven, ni-yen”
Leeches, catnip oil, strange potions

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