Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's a Free(wo)man's World

After Mr. C and I left the East Village's Orchard Street last December, we wandered back over to Soho via Rivington.  The sun was going down and the city was beginning to flaunt its dusky beauty. 

A dead-end alley caught my eye, for at its end was *something,* hinted at by twinkling fairy lights and a welcoming window.  So we took a stroll, past the grafitti, toward the warmth, and came upon Freeman's restaurant, an example of what I might call nouveau taxidermy decor; or, more elegantly, new American Rustic.

It's a small joint, and was full to the brim of diners and drinkers, so we made our way back down the alley, and into the associated gents boutique/barbershop at the end, named Freemans Sporting Club (w/o apostrophe), where plaid-shirted lads were coaxing lush Brooklyn-West beards into temporary submission.

From Freemans website: a hirsuite man sans suit

Because men's duds sometimes look better on a laughing woman

OK: I exaggerate.  But all this came rushing back today when, in a glorious, self-mandated moment of leisure, I was reading the Times Styles section and saw this series of graphic images:

Yes, upon first glance I did think they were prototypes for a new Batman mask. 

And that would be just fine with me, as I confess that beards do not thrill (I'd go all Dora Carrington on any Lytton Strachey who came my way [she snipped off his beard while he was sleeping, so the film says]).

But it was utterly fitting that the Batman beards were in the same issue as a story on Amanda Brooks, who is leaving Barneys for her husband's family's English farm, where she's planning to go all Pioneer Woman among the hedgerows and arrange cheese on plates (her examples [minus the hedgerow]). 

When I saw the photo far above, I knew exactly where Brooks was standing with her smiling pooch, because I'd been there last December, albeit in the dusk and chill. 

That's the alley, with Freeman's restaurant in the back, fairy lights, and, apparently, Brooks's soon-to-be-let apartment above.

Living where she does, with the many, many surrounding shops specializing in men's work wear (vintage and reproduction), with hirsute temptations at the very end of her alley, and in thrall to the romantic descriptions of life on an Oklahoma farm via The Pioneer Woman, it's no surprise that Brooks decided to give up rustic urbanity for the genuine English countryside. 

In homage to her past digs, here's hoping she names her new home Freewoman's Farm.

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