J. Press New York, A Jazz-Ivy Mecca In Greenwich Village

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Those lamenting that there’s no longer a J. Press store in New York will need to rethink that, starting with me. I hadn’t been to Press’ York Street store in quite some time. After all, it was always a little heartbreaking not to have the Madison Avenue store anymore, and who wants to check out all that Ovadia & Sons-designed stuff anyway?

Well much has changed. For one thing, the Ovadia stuff is no longer there, because the brothers no longer design for J. Press; meanwhile, there’s quite a bit of stock from the main J. Press collection in the York Street store. The shop’s props and decor make for a very cool atmosphere, and one other thing: our very own Millennial Fogey columnist Daniel Greenwood is now working at the shop in between singing engagements.

The result might just be the coolest midcentury Ivy shop currently in existence. J. Press York Street boasts a combination of traditional and contemporary items, is packed with midcentury jazz memorabilia, plays space-age bachelor pad music on the stereo, and is located in Greenwich Village, traditional home of New York’s famous jazz clubs and ’50s literati.

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As Ivy Style reported not long ago, the York Street label has been replaced by a new collection called Blue. The items and their cuts are less extreme than their predecessors, and look like a much smarter way for the company to attract younger customers while staying true to trad style. Items from the Blue collection are mixed in with others from the main J. Press collection, and the combination is much more harmonious than the previous stuff designed by the Ovadia brothers.

Here I am trying on a blazer from the Blue collection, combined with my Bass tassel moccasins, argyles, O’Connell’s charcoal worsteds, Brooks blue buttondown, RL club tie, and RL cable cashmere sweater:

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Next, DCG shoved me into this lightweight summer jacket, which was in a textured seersucker-like cotton. I’d need a long rather than regular, but the fit and styling should appeal to a broader base than the York Street stuff:

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The decor of the shop, which DCG says was inspired by Blue Note-era jazz, blends ’50s jazz with collegiate Ivy in a way that was right up my alley. Look down and you’ll see a table lined with oxford-cloth buttondowns:

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Then look up and you’ll see John Coltrane (the song “Moment’s Notice” from this album is one of my favorite jazz tunes):

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Glance left and you’ll find a preppy classic such as patch-madras shorts, here accented with polka dots:

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Then glance right and it’s Dave Brubeck:

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And if that’s too hip, there’s The Four Preps:

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Of course I noticed this pinned club collar:

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Here’s another, with Yale on the cuff:

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Some ties and accessories:

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The infamous Chuck Bass scarf:

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Harvard:

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This pebble-grain longwing is an Allen Edmonds exclusive for J. Press (though don’t ask me how it differs from the regular AE shoe):

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Alas Ivy-Style.com isn’t quite this old…

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A book on display open to this page. It’s called “Atomic Cocktails,” and I had it years ago. Check out the outfit on the guy on the right. Red shawl-collared party jacket combined with white buttondown and black knit tie:

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Finally, you probably want to know what the service was like. DCG certain looked like a J. Press salesman:

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As for his salesmanship, he managed to talk me into one item on the clearance table. There in Greenwich Village, surrounded by jazz albums and old copies of Playboy and Mad Magazine, he suckered me into a navy turtleneck that made me feel like a beatnik poet:

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It also made me feel like a cat burglar. I should have tested Daniel’s loss-prevention skills. There was certainly enough worth taking. — CC

30 Comments on "J. Press New York, A Jazz-Ivy Mecca In Greenwich Village"

  1. I stopped in to this J Press store last year when in NYC. I bought a couple of things and thought they had a nice selection (almost everything was “J Press”, not the “York Street” brand).

  2. Be still my heart.! Bravo DCG at Squeeze. May the good times roll.

  3. That yellow foulard necktie, the striped belts, the burgundy sportsmen necktie, the madras shirts and the voluminous shirts. It all looks like what was in my Dad’s closet 35 years ago when he went on sales calls to pharmaceutical companies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and tried to emulate the Irish Catholic bosses who played golf and went to church on Sunday and sailed on the Connecticut shore in summer. I’m not saying it’s wrong or right, but the whole look belongs on a laid-to-rest man in his coffin surrounded by well-wishers in some darkly lit funeral home off the Merritt Parkway.

  4. Vern Trotter | March 15, 2016 at 4:25 pm |

    I have walked by but never stopped. It has the look/feel I remember from when I first lived in the village the winter of 1959-60, way before everything went to hell. Everything was Beat, not so bad after all.

    I shall stop by very soon. Thanks.

  5. Charlottesville | March 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm |

    Thanks, Christian. This is very encouraging. The place sounds great, and I am very pleased to know that the trad stuff has found a new home in the city. I wonder if this will be the pattern for all of the stores, i.e., a mix of J. Press traditional with the new Blue line. Hope to see what is going on in the Washington store in the next few weeks, and will certainly drop in at York Street the next time I am up north. By the way, the owner of the local traditional clothier Eljo’s told me that his son, Trent, worked at the old Madison and 44th Press store a number of years ago. Glad to see that DCG is carrying on at the downtown location.

  6. Bags' Groove | March 15, 2016 at 4:47 pm |

    Ivy and Jazz. Now where’ve I come across that before? Well, John Simons, of course.
    And Graham Marsh of “The Ivy Look” fame also published “The Cover Art of Blue Note Records”.
    When it comes to Ivy and Jazz, you can’t keep those Limeys down.

  7. Right, that’s how you and many others in the UK discovered it. But while Simons and Marsh may have been tastemakers in the small community of Limey Ivy, they didn’t exactly invent jazz and the Ivy League Look.

  8. NaturalShoulder | March 15, 2016 at 5:32 pm |

    I wish the review was posted a week earlier and I would have popped in to the store on my visit to NYC. The cotton jacket Christian is wearing looks quite nice and I am glad to see a favorite Atkinsons rep tie is back it stock.

  9. Great news! Trips to NYC haven’t been the same since the Madison Ave store shut.

  10. Funny, when I posted this I imagined Woofy reading it and booking a ticket immediately!

  11. Bags' Groove | March 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm |

    Christian, I discovered both from “DownBeat”.
    I don’t know where JS discovered Ivy or Jazz, but I know he’s been digging both since the dawn of time.
    J. Press would seem to have discovered Jazz when they moved to Bleeker Street.
    As for Marsh, I haven’t noticed many American Ivy devotees publishing books about both Ivy style and iconic Blue Note covers.
    America invented it all, of course, but Limeys and Japanese seem to appreciate and enjoy Ivy and Jazz just that little bit more.

  12. DCG,
    I was planning on paying the store a visit this week. When are you on the floor? I’d like the commission to go to someone truly knowledgeable about Ivy Style.

  13. Are we allowed to ask about the clothing?

    The OCBD’s that feature the American flag label–what’s up? Garland?

  14. @Bags

    Now those are more specific and fair points.

    One of my favorite posts here, first posted in 2009. It’s based on the 1960 film “Where The Boys Are,” in which avant-garde jazz is parodied within the context of college students on spring break:

    http://www.ivy-style.com/boys-town.html

    America is a dynamic culture that changes rapidly, and sometimes other cultures better appreciate the stuff we’ve moved on from.

  15. G I appreciate the sentiment but our whole team is great, my “gig” calendar is a little full so I will be Sun-Tues of next week if you can wait.

    SE some Garland, some NESC, depends on the label and season, best to call or email during store hours and we can help you out.

    Gentlemen let me assure you that my rigorous Ivy-Style writing schedule will continue at its brisk once-in-a-blue-moon pace.

  16. I’ll have to visit soon!

  17. Well, congrats on the gig, DCG.

    We’ll look forward to eyewitness reporting.

  18. @Christian

    It is not only the turtleneck that makes you look like a beatnik. Crazy man.

    May I suggest a listen to The Gordons singing Bebopper. Real cool daddy.

  19. I’m reasonably confident DCG is wearing his new Brooks OCBD on J Press premises. A very gentlemanly act of defiance.

  20. I was wearing an old one, which is why it doesn’t roll!

    I don’t think DCG has the new shirt. Few seem to want to bite the bullet for full price and we don’t ask for editorial discounts anymore after all the unflattering editorial….

  21. DCG,

    Congrats on the gig. Be prepared to get bombarded with sizing/measurements requests!

  22. I miss the old J. Press–old to/for me. Midtown, a stone’s throw from Brooks. The last (Madison Ave.) incarnation was less cozy.

    I’ll take any midtown location, though. What are the chances?

  23. Such is the price of journalistic integrity…

  24. The ocbd is a J Squeeze! The blazer…that’s old Brooks.

  25. Charlottesville | March 17, 2016 at 10:34 am |

    I note that my e-mail brought the news that there is a nice sale at Press for the next few days. I assume that it applies to the brick & mortar locations as well as online. I think there may be a new Tattersall button down in my future.

  26. I’m in NY for a few days, but will be gone before Sunday — otherwise would have stopped by J Press to say hello to DCG. Tried on one of the new Brooks OCBDs yesterday after watching some of the parade. Not to my taste. I didn’t like the fit, and the oxford cloth seemed to be much thinner than the Brooks shirt I was wearing. Went up to the 4th floor to ask about made to measure. They said the cloth is from Garland, and was the same as I had on. Could order the same shirt I bought for $80 a few years ago, but with an unlined collar, for $180. Don’t see the point. Mercer is the answer to all my questions.

  27. Hey all,

    This is Andrew from the York Street shop. I am a sales associate/visual specialist for the store and the guy responsible for the infusion of jazz paraphernalia as well as the designer of the upcoming “very Japanese” tote bag.

    Glad to hear the appreciation for the shop’s latest propping, but I’m neither a “Limey” nor Japanese; just an American Army brat with great appreciation for the intersection of Jazz and Ivy style, as well as a reader of this blog. In this case it’s not a cultural re-appropriation: “the call is coming from inside the house.” 😉

    Stop in and say hi to me when you’re visiting DCG.

    -APS

  28. Henry Contestwinner | March 18, 2016 at 10:14 pm |

    Just noticed the collar pin & tie bar combo on the pink shirt in the first photo. And it’s a button down!

    Perhaps someone was listening to Yello when putting together this display?

  29. Reminds me of Sid Mashburn in Atlanta. Same feel and visual look. They are a Southwick MTM store and are well versed in the cut of a true 3r2 Sack. That said, I will visit York Street when in NYC during the coming summer.

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