A Finer and Dandier Hell's Kitchen
Matt Fox and Enrique Crame III, the owners of Fine and Dandy on West 49th Street, are perennial Hell's Kitchen personalities with deep roots in the neighborhood.
Now in its 15th year on W 49th, Fine and Dandy (and the newer Fine & Dandy Throwbacks) serves fans around the world, including costume designers, stylists and private clients. We chatted with Matt and Enrique about life in the neighborhood, and the story of one of Hell’s Kitchen’s longest running boutiques.
Tell us about the origin of Fine and Dandy. What drew you to fashion – particularly dandy-inspired fashion?
We always loved the dandy aesthetic. We had the idea to create our own line of ties, bow ties, and pocket squares and sell them online. We knew we were going to be operating out of our small Hell's Kitchen apartment and accessories take up little space. 2008 was an interesting time to have started our business. It was the beginning of the surge of eCommerce and men's fashion was having a renaissance. The response was terrific which led us to start doing pop-up shops and eventually open our own storefront shop in 2012.
What was the inspiration to incorporate the Throwback Collection into the brand?
The 3 months when we were forced to be closed at the beginning of the pandemic, Enrique went weeks without leaving the apartment. He’d spend hours at a time geeking out watching Instagram Lives dedicated to vintage t-shirts. The following Fall he began his own weekly online auction. In the Fall of 2021 the commercial space directly next to our shop became available and we decided to roll the dice and take over the space as Enrique's vintage showroom.
Matt, you’ve been in the neighborhood for over 20 years, so you know a lot of about its history. Any funny stories?
It probably will be no surprise that plenty of celebrities have lived in the neighborhood given our proximity to the theatre district. Bruce Willis lived a few doors down from our shop in the early 80's and was a bartender around the corner at what is now The Waylon. Some of our customers remember him sunbathing on the roof.
You have 24 hours to waste in Hells Kitchen, what are you doing?
We'll make it a Monday since we're closed Mondays. We'll have a leisurely breakfast at Sullivan Street Bakery, then head to the Hudson River for a long walk. It's easy to forget that we're on an island and surrounded by water. In the last couple of decades the city has done a terrific job of developing the land along the Hudson. Piers 96 and 84 have long been places to enjoy a picnic, but about a year ago, the former tow yard for the NYPD was removed from Pier 76 and the City plans to eventually turn it into another park.
We'll end our walk by stopping by Ezra Cohen's Hell's Kitchen art studio. Enrique's convinced he's the next Picasso. Time for some nourishment. One of our favorite restaurants, The Harrow, has a great happy hour from 4-6pm so we'll stop by for a cocktail and some snacks.
And then we'll head to Birdland for Jim Caruso's Cast Party. Jim is a dear friend and he hosts this weekly open mic night for the Broadway/cabaret/jazz community. It is seriously one of the coolest, New York-iest things you can do. Last time we were there Tony Award winner Faith Prince sang, followed by a geriatric pole dancing marionette, followed by three pianists who, after performing separately, improvised a six handed rendition of A Train. Such a fun event.
We'll end the night with a glass of wine at Back Pocket Bar, just down the block from our shop. Our friend Suzy's little bar is constantly making "best bar" lists and it's always a blast.
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