Where you’re from?
What is Nostylgia and how long have you been in business?
Nostylgia is a lot of things but to sum it up simply Nostylgia is a Lifestyle Brand and retail store and we’ve been in business since 2004
What made you open up a business in Inwood and what is the overall theme of the store?
Well being from Yonkers, Inwood was the closest part of NYC to me when growing up in fact whenever we came over here we used to say we were downtown.lol. How ironic! However, when opening up the store. I explored a few other areas such as Soho and BK but I felt they had become so oversaturated with so-called “creative concept” boutiques that just being there to start out made it kind of uncreative to me and seeing how well the urban renewal movement had done in Harlem I took a gamble that it would just keep moving up! After really looking in Inwood though, I found so many other hidden treasures about it that just made this neighborhood a perfect fit for us and it has really allowed us to develop a truly unique and classic brand.
Before opening up a business in Inwood, did you hangout in the area?
Definitely!! The ladies of this neighborhood made me a regular when I was in HS and College. I was the only white guy in many of the local spots here back around the early 2000s.
What has been the biggest obstacle for you as a business owner in Inwood?
Well, I feel that when anyone opens a business in any changing neighborhood there’s always a push and pull between new and old ways. What should stay, and what should go? So in many ways it challenges any progressive business owner, but I like to look at such obstacles as brand building opportunities. The best brands are the ones with the richest history and growing up in Inwood, dealing with these type of obstacles has given Nostylgia the best chance to make that history!
Who is Nostylgia catering to?
Taking into effect what I said above, we like to cater to anyone willing to accept us for the brand we are. We haven’t pegged anybody. We’re simply trying to create a lifestyle based on the nostalgia of America. Although this neighborhood, this city, and moreover this nation is made up of people with a plethora of backgrounds, we’re all here for whatever reasons and we’re all searching for that timeless “American Dream” whether we admit it or not. Here at Nostylgia we try to capture that timeless pursuit and that classic aesthetic that always has been and always will be in style and thus always part of what we like to call Lifestylgia. So ANYONE cool with that…we’re catering to you!
What has been the reaction to your business from the community in the past couple of years?
When we first opened here in 2005 we were really something new for the neighborhood. There was no Mamajuana yet and Inwood was really a place that only the locals knew so when we came in with all these crazy sneakers that we were importing in from all over and there was only a few other boutiques in the city who had them, let alone on Dyckman, we really turned a lot of heads in the area and due to the huge following the sneakers had at the time we became a destination spot not only for locals but from people all over, which in turn brought more local respect. As the whole sneaker thing started getting more and more mass exposure though I feel like we started to blend in too much with your average retailers and I think our buzz and respect level in the neighborhood died a bit on that end, I think we even lost of bit of energy ourselves in running the business, however our initial craze allowed us to develop our own clothing line and as the sneakers wanes that starting receiving much more of the attention. At the beginning of 2010 we even closed for a month to off all our sneakers and re-open with Nostylgia the brand and the lifestyle as the main focus of the business and since then the response has been amazing. I’m finding so many like minded progressive people here. It’s great, and now we’re really digging in here as a fixture and hopefully destination in NYC, trying to become very active on a local level, leading several community groups and really trying to show anyone who’s watching what we have to offer up here in Inwood.
Where do you see Nostylgia by 2015 and where do you see Inwood by 2015?
Wheww…. Approaching our 5 year anniversary here at the store this year and looking back at all we’ve been through, it’s hard to say anything for sure but as far as Nostylgia it’s my mission to continue to develop as a full lifestyle brand based on timelessness and classic Americana through our continued efforts to think globally while acting locally. Hopefully we’ll also be able to open a couple other locations either in other parts on NYC or in other States so we can better spread these ideals of the Nostylgia Lifestylgia.
As far as Inwood goes, I think it’s almost the same thing. I look back at the past 5 years and cant believe where Inwood is now so by 2015 who knows. I just hope that we continue to way we’re going, attracting the best NYC has to offer to the best neighborhood NYC has to offer. I can see the tour busses now, but not here to see the sky scrappers or corporately created pseudo NY, but the real NY made by real New Yorkers.
What is your favorite thing about uptown?
Simply, it’s unmatched energy! Come to Dyckman on a nice Sunday…you wont find life like this anywhere else.
What are some of things you are working on that we should look forward too?
We’re really excited about this summer and our future. We’ll be releasing a complete Nostylgia Lifestylgia Summer program in conjuction with the NYC Parks Dept. that will feature a beavy of events ranging from Historical Nature Walks to Fishing Trips and Chess Tournaments which should be a great opportunity for people from all over to come explore and appreciate all uptown has to offer. As far as our clothing we’re constantly expanding our line. We’ll always have the basics that we’ve become so famous for but after some success on smaller more detailed projects I’m going to continue making some higher end projects featuring the best of the best Nostylgia has to offer.
Tea or Nutcraker?
LOL. Tea for me. I can’t hang with the nutcrackers anymore, talk to our manager Albert about the Nutties.
For more info on Nostylgia visit www.nostylgia.com