NYC's not as cool as Oakland

It's pretty cool though! HERE'S EVIDENCE

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You might find me learning eternal wisdom from fitted SpyBabies before grabbing a slice at Sbarro and catching Phantom … just another wild night in “The City That Never Sleeps”

New York City — whatta town! Yr boy (Jonah) is an NYC native, which means I’m allowed to speak provocative truths about the city, like the one in today’s subject line, and which moreover means I’m always stoked to return from our current East Bay Spyplane HQ to my home soil, which is what I did with Erin the other day in order to 1) co-host our smash-hit Leisure Centre Spymall event, 2) link + build with assorted NYC-based SpyFriends, and 3) generally see what the f**k was popping within city limits.

Among the things we did during our trip?? On-the-ground C.I.R.L.O.C. (Cop I.R.L. Only Challenge) RECON, of course!!


Halfway thru the trip the weather went from hot ‘n’ muggy to crisp ‘n’ nippy, so I popped into Mach 3+ boutique C’H’C’M’ to cop a FIRE beige brushed super kid mohair crewneck from Japan’s Auralee (not cheap, but a certified stunner) and insulate myself swaggily. It’s a warm but lightweight beauty, and I’ve worn it every day since.

Auralee is, to my eye, a perfect C.I.R.L.O.C. brand, in the sense that I’ve admired their understated clothing in photos online, but there was very little chance I was gonna drop bookoo bread on this sweater off the strength of a .jpeg alone.

No sir!! For this piece to really “start singing” its seductive melodies, I needed to see the ANGORA FIBERS swaying dreamily like EXOTIC DEEP-SEA FLORA in real time… I needed to put my fingertips on those fibers and gasp at their SILKINESS… And I needed to pull that fuzzy collar over my d*mn dome and behold the DRAPE !

SpyFriend Jon Caramanica and I had a conversation about this phenomenon one afternoon as we strolled over to the new L.E.S. location of buzzing vintage shop Lara Koleji, which carries a ton of cool, relatively muted slappers (including lots of old Issey Miyake diffusion-line pieces and agnès b joints) that make less of a “pop” on a smartphone screen than they do in person. Jon & I wondered if we’re due for an imminent pendulum swing away from clothes with louder, flashier, IG-friendly aesthetics toward joints with subtler, I.R.L.-friendly appeal… Maybe that swing is already underway ??

SPEAKING OF COLD WEATHER C.I.R.L.O.C. GEMS — at C’H’C’M’ I marveled at this MAJOR “Arctic Down Parka” from Italy’s Ten c:

O mamma! Ten c is the co-creation of an ex-Stone Island dude and C.P. Company dude, and given both those brands’ reps for high-end materials engineering it came as no surprise that this parka was lovely to behold: garment-dyed; cut from a soft, lightweight, ever-so-slightly crinkly water-repellent nylon; and featuring a bunch of TASTY detailing throughout, from herringbone milspec-lookin’-a** trim to heavy-duty snaps to a quilted neck flap…

People often write in asking about cold-weather armor, and while we are on-the-record for our ambivalence re: down (it warms you up like nobody’s business, but much of it is ripped from feathered cuties in horrifying ways we can not abide), if you wanna drop roughly a G on an un-showy yet advanced cutie-dependent “winter-weather solution,” then snag this baby, NEVER LOOK BACK & NEVER SHIVER. It doesn’t get cold enough in the Bay for me to justify copping this, but yooo I was tempted.

The Arctic Down Parka is NOT on the C’H’C’M’ site right now, making this a phone-order / C.I.R.L.O.C. gem for the moment. TEL: 646-820-9243

(You can find shops selling it online, but we didn’t discover it at those places, we discovered it at C’H’C’M, so we gotta give the solid to our discerning brick ‘n’ mortar stockists out here on the C.I.R.L.O.C. frontlines!!)

NEXT UP, a very special NYC-themed 💓SPYGIVEAWAY💓

Speaking of brick-and-mortar downtown institutions, one evening in NYC I met up with SpyFriend Jian DeLeon, who was at the Noah store on Mulberry, busy copping a very fire long-sleeve thermal polo

I took a spin around the shop nodding APPRECIATIVELY at various big gas wide-wale corduroy joints on offer, and I would have admired these extremely F R E S H new Noah x Barbour waxed-cotton Bedale jackets, too, but they weren’t available yet

These Bedales are unisex Noah ‘xclusies, and they drop this Thursday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m. ET, in light brown (up top in the above collage), dark navy (at center) and wine (at bottom). They’re cut from 100% dry wax water-resistant cotton, with a corduroy collar, double ring zipper-pull, handwarmer pockets at the waist, a tartan lining and a BUNCH OF OTHER HANDSOME BARBOURED-OUT details. $458 each. (This capsule includes some heavy wool Barbour Beauforts, too.)

And get this: We here at Blackbird Spyplane are once again JOINING HANDS with Noah to give away one of each Bedale jacket colorway, to 3 lucky Cla$$ified SpyFriends. If you already enjoy life inside the Spyplane Inner $anctum, this is yet another “unbeatable perk” for you — if you’re a public-tier subscriber, wow, what a great day to caress the upgrade and float happy and carefree over our beautiful paywall.

Enter the Noah x Barbour SPYGIVEAWAY

We’ll draw the 3 winners’ names on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 10 a.m. P.T. so enter before then. Noah’s on IG here and their site is here.

REAL QUICK, it’s time for some —

Erin made her own C.I.R.L.O.C. discovery in NYC when she ducked into the excellent Williamsburg store Tangerine and made a BEELINE for these extremely appealing massage combs, carved from verawood in Japan….

She was, like, “Friend, these are ill, what’s the price,” at which point the shopkeep replied, “A mere $35,” so Erin WENT HOME HAPPY with the one pictured above right.

This comb looks great on its own, on some handcrafted artisan objet s**t — but its appeal only deepens when you use it to massage yr scalp and/or the base of yr skull and/or YOUR FACE…

These are not on the Tangerine webstore, so hit them up in person or drop ‘em a line about copping from afar. You can shop online for the NYC-made brand Coming of Age — cool unisex clothing, hats and accessories (much of it in taffeta gingham?!) — which is designed by Tangerine co-owner Amanda Lurie, here.

Meanwhile: YOOO peep these boots —

One of our go-to NYC GORP-SHOPPES is Westerlind, on Spring Street, who carry these fantastic black rubber rain / gardening boots from Aigle, which are made in France (and which a Cla$$ified SpyFriend helpfully shouted out the other day in the goldmine that is our recommendation-rich SpyTalk Chat Room).

These are kind of like much lower-key and way more trend-proof cousins of the Bottega puddle boots and Kanye’s crazy-a** knee-high Croc-lookin’ Balenciaga boots that he was rocking with that sPoOoOkY featureless facemask the other day.

They’re $135 a pair, Westerlind sell them online, and they come in both men’s and women’s versions.

🏺🏺🏺 BTW if yr wondering what that colorful little bud vase above is all about?? We have no idea. But it’s handsome & hand-painted and we copped it I.R.L. from SpyFriends Jacob and Rachel of the vibey-vintage-objet-slinging IG accountAchilles Deal” — they had a stoop sale in Brooklyn Heights while we were in town, and there’s more elitely curated bric-a-brac on their feed, HERE.

Other notable POP-INS of the trip included the densely packed vintage joint Front General Store in Dumbo, where Erin copped a ‘60s-era Yhtyneet Pukutehtaat (Finnish!) anorak with what she identifies as a very ~‘06-Marni-lookin’ print… The Snow Peak store in SoHo, where Erin ADMIRED & CARESSED but did not cop this HEAVY-COTTON MOCK NECK T-SHIRT DRESS, firmly on its “FUTURISTIC MINIMAL SPACE PRAIRIE” s**t, $159, below right…

AND the extremely cool bookstore Head Hi, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where they carry all manner of UNDER-THE-RADAR fashion magazines, cookbooks, vintage design books, vibey subcultural histories and so on (several of which are collaged above)… Head Hi are on IG here and they’ve got a webshop here.


The best coffee we had during the entire trip was at the BRAND NEW East Village outpost of Danish BEAN LORDS La Cabra — a spot that SpyFriend and expert coffee enthusiast Kelefa Sanneh tipped us off to, and which no one else we mentioned it to had heard of, maybe because they just opened in late September…

The décor managed to be simultaneously SCANDINAVIAN and POPPING, which is no small feat given how WASHED Scando café-design has gotten in the post Blue B*ttle era….

And please trust & believe that the words “EXQUISITE ROAST” applied not only to the beans but also to the EXQUISITELY ROASTED 990 v5s one friendly barista (below right) was rocking! V5s look best when they’re lovingly toasted, so when we saw this dude rocking them while hooking us up with some RAREFIED CUPPAS?? We knew we were in good hands.

Apparently there’s a special cup of coffee at La Cabra that takes 20 minutes to brew, which — even though we love taking our sweet time in the name of living a “Life Well Lived” — was longer than we were able to wait…

BUT the non-20-minute coffee was itself so balanced & delicious that we copped two of the HANDLE-FREE, HEAT-RETAININGLY THICC-WALLED MUGS that La Cabra gets from ceramists K.H. Würtz (who also do dishware for Copenhagen’s Noma, i.e. they have a strictly A-list Danish-gourmand clientele!!)

White, chunky and gloopily-glazed, these mugs will never not look great. They’re $43 each and coppable through La Cabra here. (A bunch of other La Cabra x Würtz joints are already sold out, so don’t sleep.)

✌️💓✌️💓✌️💓 Jonah & Erin

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