This has nothing to do with Friends or that sad movie with Colin Farrell. This is real.
I had to go into Manhattan today to run an errand and decided to find some lunch afterwards. I was really looking for Sweetgreen, but then I saw this Luke’s Lobster tucked off of Fifth Avenue and I just knew. This was the place where magic lived. It also happens to be the place where I got a delish lobster roll two years ago, but at their Brooklyn Bridge Park location. I didn’t know that I was ready for another one, but there you go.
It was refreshingly cool in the rustic little space after the blinding hot sun outside. How cute is the bottlecap barrel? It also reminded me that I had planned to go to Martha’s Vineyard this summer… I currently have two jobs, so I can’t go anywhere on vacation. I guess I just needed this maritime themed timeout.
Perfection. Just chunks of fresh lobster mixed with mayo, lemon butter and Luke’s Lobster seasoning ensconced in a buttery toasted bun. I took a little taste after I photographed my lunch and decided to just sit outside and eat instead of waiting. I never, for any reason sit outside to eat. I have a whole fear of someone just snatching my food or my purse while I sit around conspicuously consuming a plate of privilege. I like to eat inside where it’s safe. But it just felt like too much to have to wait. Sometimes you just have to sit yourself down and enjoy the moment.
You ever have a friend that disappears for like, six months, then comes back and blows up your phone with texts? That’s me. Let’s get into it.
I have a fashion job (we’ll talk about that later) and last Wednesday I had to go on a field trip for work in the searing, nasty summer heat of New York City. On the way to my destination I realized that I was in the actual vicinity of Milk Bar and my day took a turn from abysmal to transcendent. I love Christina Tosi’s backstory and the fact that she put basic stuff on a pedestal with her compost cookies and crack pies. Her methods are the epitome of staying true to yourself.
I was in actual shock when I found out that my menial task was taking me past the gates of heaven. It was a sign that I was on the right path, I kid you not. As SOON as I was finished, I made a trip to cookie mecca. Have you ever had their corn cookie? It’s insane. I grabbed four different kinds to nosh on (cheap at $2.75 each). I was so excited to be there, it was nuts. I kept twirling around to take photos to make sure I got every important detail. I was acting like a straight up tourist and I DID NOT CARE.
I got a cup of cereal milk soft serve which I had to photograph while walking and carrying a bag of cookies. Ice cream dripping everywhere,but I did my duty. And got the perfect, late afternoon, warm glow, magic hour lighting. Hello? I am a photo god.
The cereal milk soft serve is a sneakily delicious twist on the usual sweet but forgettable summer treat. Soft serve always has a sort of sterile taste, no depth. It’s there to cool your mouth down, not to be savored. This was a different story. Sweet, but salty, kind of nutty, ridiculously creamy and so good that you can’t stop eating it, but you want to stop eating just to enjoy the feel and flavor a little longer. It’s a love story of a dessert. But simple, clean and refreshing. Just writing thismakes mewant to get on the train and buy more.
If you’re down in Chelsea, swing by the Milk Bar at 220 8th Avenue. Make sure you check out their website, too.
I don’t normally do sit-down interviews because I’m too lazy. I hate taping conversations because I’ll have to play them back and later and, heaven forbid, have to write or type everything. I avoid sitdowns like the plague.
This actually wasn’t the biggest hardship, because I live nearby and was able to get some exercise and enjoy a late summer evening. I’d never been to Bluebird anyway. It turned out to be a cool place that has a back garden where you can actually peek at people waiting for the train at Prospect Park station. It’s nice. The waitress was pretty insistent, and came over a lot but that’s better than when they ignore you and you sit around wondering why you have nothing to eat.
It’s also across the street from the best discount store in Brooklyn (maybe the world?) Phat Albert’s. Turns out Florent and I share an interest in the place. I go trolling for ideas there and so does he. It’s a small worls, and it gets even smaller when you find out French guys are shopping at the discunt store, too.
So here we go…
SEB: What inspired you to create that hat?
Florent Biais: That’s a good question. Well, I live here (in Flatbush), a Jamaican neighborhood. So I guess I didn’t realize it at first, but I think seeing Rastafarians with their locs wrapped was something for sure. It creates this huge structure. And the top hat was a big influence because of the stupidity of it. The nonsensical attitude of it. You know, fashion is something like that. It’s something just weird.
And I really love the hat culture in the US because we don’t have that anymore in Europe.
SEB: People don’t wear hats in Europe?
FB: No, not any more! We kind of initiated all these crazy hats and stuff back in the day, but not anymore. Except some American influenced sportswear like the baseball hat, but that’s an American thing. So I was fascinated by that when I arrived here, that the US is more inclined to wear hats than we are. And that’s cool. I love hats.
SEB: Did you study fashion design?
FB: No, I didn’t I studied architecture. I’m an architect, actually.
SEB: Your instagram seems really fashion-y, like you go out a lot…
FB: No. I wish. You have your real life and your instagram life.
SEB: But wait, I saw a photo of Shaun Ross wearing your hat! How did that happen?
FB: Ok, I can tell you a story. My soon-to-be wife [FB is getting married this month! Congrats!!] is a pediatrics nurse and she helped deliver a baby to a couple and they were so into her that they invited us to the bris. So there we were, and after that we became friends. I talked about my project to them and the guy, who is in the movie industry, was really into the hat. He has a desk in a co-working space and he talked about it to a photographer who used to work with Shaun Ross a lot and she said he would love it.
She decided to use the hat in a photo shoot with him for NYFW, so I gave her one so she could put it on his head. It didn’t happen, because NYFW is crazy, but she gave my friend his personal address and I sent him a hat. I wasn’t really paying attention, but then two months later a guy tagged me in a picture and it was everywhere. Shaun was wearing it while meeting Winnie Harlow.
I thought he didn’t like it!
After we finished talking,Florent takes out a hat and gives it to me. I immediately put it on. People start complimenting me. It’s that kind of hat. When I got home I started messing with it right away. All that other stuff I’m supposed to be reviewing? Totally forgotten.
At first, I kind of thought that I would have to dress up to work the hat, but quickly realized that I could wear pretty much anything and the hat was literally the cherry on top. It did bring out some punk tendencies, because it’s the perfect frame for the face. I wore it to Glossier’s showroom down in Soho and got tons of compliments and lots of likes on instagram. After awhile, I was just throwing it on to go to the store. It’s cool without trying and it kind of fascinates people.