shopping 02.4.15

J.J. Hat Center
Old New York
Poll: Vaccination Exemption

When Elaine Stritch asked, "Does anyone still wear a hat?" in the Sondheim musical Company, it was 1970 and the question was rhetorical. No, people did not still wear hats.

Four decades later, surprisingly, the answer turns out to be yes. Surviving haberdashery booms and busts is J.J. Hat Center, 310 5th Ave. [31st/ 32nd] 212.239.4368, which opened in 1911. They're not just surviving, either. To mark their 100 anniversary, they opened a satellite shop in the East Village under the name Pork Pie Hatters and then another in Williamsburg.

The store has been known under different names, in different locations and owned by different families. Currently, it's the O'Tooles (mother Aida runs J.J. and son Sean runs the Pork Pies). Consistent all along has been excellent selection and a savvy staff.

In 2012, they launched their own label called Phrenology, made completely in the U.S. The Phrenology Diamond is one fine-looking hat.

One bit of trivia. J.J. is located in what was once IBM's showroom in the 1920s. At that time, the company sold meat grinders, coffee grinders, a parcel post scale and time stamps. J.J. has done one thing all these years and done it right. A tip of the hat to them.

The front windows of IBM at 310 Fifth Avenue in 1927,
current home of J.J. Hat Center.


New York state allows a religious exemption (decided by the school on a case-by-case basis) for required K-12 vaccinations when the parent holds 'sincere and genuine religious beliefs which prohibit the immunization of their child.' Philosophical exemptions are not allowed. Should the religious exemptions continue to be allowed?





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