The Surf/Fashion/Cafe Crossover Was Born In New York City
Culture Shifters: How Saturdays NYC became the archetype for your favorite cappuccino and chill stores.
Outside storefronts and apartments, high rises loom above the incessant horns, dark alleyways, pizzerias, transients, bicycles and stoops. In mid-summer the smell of asphalt, tar, and trash bags littering the sidewalks burn the senses.
It’s fast, loose and loud.
It’s scaffolding, streetwear and art – an unlikely place to possess a most loyal, underground surf culture.
It’s New York City.
We arrived in the dead heat. The air was thick with humidity that stuck to our upper lips. We lugged camera bags around the Lower East Side, through a gap between discount electronic stores, pawn shops and 99 cent pizza slices.
“Let’s meet for dinner at the Flower Shop,” Morgan Collett, co-founder of Saturdays NYC and subject of the mini-documentary that lies above suggested.
“Sounds good,” we replied.
Filmmaker Mike Pagan and I had spent a little time in New York. Just enough to know that the Lower East Side is not Brooklyn and Brooklyn is not Manhattan but not enough to be certain of whether or not the Lower East Side is a part of Manhattan. It is.
We were filming for our newest edition of "Culture Shifters" (a Stab x House Beer production) – where we take people who surf moderately, or exceptionally, well and divulge into the parts of their lives that have disrupted the status quo.
Saturdays NYC is the store that nearly every mid-high fashion brand/cafe/outdoor work and hang space attempts to emulate. What started on maxed out credits cards, holding two-three part-time jobs and life savings is now the archetype for the ever-so-prevalent fashion/surf/coffee niche.
Their product is high quality. They produce a magazine sans advertisement that highlights their friends and people around the city that are breaking ground with photography, art and creativity. The vibe is comfortable. It’s an escape from the hustle of the city grounded by the roots of Newport Beach.
We entered the Flower Shop a few minutes before Morgan. He showed up in a black collar and spectacles. After being greeted by the chef, the hosts, the bartenders and waitresses, it became clear, this is his joint. We spent the evening indulging in cocktails, oysters, and various gifts from the chef.
We spoke of the past, present and future of Saturdays. We spoke of personal lives, of parenthood, of taking risks and doing what it takes to succeed. We spoke of the dark and light times. We mapped out the storyline for this episode. We sliced some of the NSFW stories from the end result and left them in a bottle of whiskey.
The next day we toured the shop, the office, and took a four hour long, bumper to bumper drive to Montauk. Living in LA we’re accustomed to traffic, but this was grueling. We pulled up to a home a block from the beach. A deer scurried behind the house. It was a part of New York we’d never seen. An area with long stretches of sand, windmills, and lush nature – an absolute juxtaposition to the concrete oasis of the city. Outside the home, an electric blue swimming pool was built into the wood deck. It was large enough to swim laps. On the deck sat two beautiful blonde women. They wore wide brim hats. They drank champagne from stems. They invited us in and offered a glass of wine.
The home was art and architecture. High ceilings, woods beams, a slant roof; the couch the wrapped the entirety of the living room. A six-foot framed shot of a topless women puffing on a joint dressed the wall beside the fireplace. I'd never seen a home so effortlessly beautiful.
I sipped my glass in awe and envy and thought, “Now, this is living.”