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What We See

On Fyre: When hype flames out

I’ll be honest, Instagram has been a challenge for us at ShirtCycle. We’re builders, not posters. So I was curious to see what happened when posters built a music festival in the Bahamas.

I mean Coachella was launched in 1999. These aren’t pop-up shops.

As documented, a dumpster fire is the answer. So when media guys we respect send their blast email to win VIP tickets with the editorial line “There’s a brand new party — called Fyre Festival — giving Coachella a run for its money. ” We were suspicious.

As a former banker and PE guy, I found this pitch deck absurd (take a look). And that fact co-founder Ja Rule put “NOT MY FAULT” in all caps hilarious, mostly because I was not stranded there.

The fact that the bow wow challenge piggybacks this story just affirms people lie on social media. It’s fine to dupe someone over pictures, my banker friend who runs a “Scotch & Yachts” instagram does not own a yacht, but he’s also not building yachts for people that are not seaworthy.

Our tack at ShirtCycle is to grow through referrals and by partnering with pre-professional clubs on college campuses so our AI style curation helps because workplace style matters and most of us don’t have a lot of time or style sense when starting our careers.

Hopefully this leads us all to find both the style and substance behind the brands and services we use and share with our friends.

And if only Frank from Always Sunny had been behind this…

Simple spring style = add color

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From Pancakes to Gatorade, most anything with just add water for instructions does well. I mean, c’mon, we’re only human.

For guys, this simply means adding a little color to their wardrobe in order to transition it from winter to spring. Menswear style often centers on shirt, suit and tie combinations and the cut or how tapered or custom your clothes are. Most guys miss seasons.

It’s like managing a pitching rotation, yes you want to use all your pitchers or suits, but knowing the mix is key. When spring comes, signal you’re aware with lighter grey’s over charcoal. Lighter blues over Navy. And even a tan suit signals spring is here.

Channel your former Vineyard Vine frat style to get pastels back in the mix. Now light pink, purple or yellow shirts have an excuse, a small one, but one nonetheless. When it’s 70 degrees and you’re going charcoal suit with burgundy tie, that’s a winter combo.

Here, white toned shirts, light colored suits and pastelish ties mix for a perfect spring look. Oh and don’t forget to unbutton your jacket when sitting, don’t let these NBA post games fool you.

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Montauk: Trusted escape route

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If a hurricane comes, do not go to Montauk.

If you live in NYC, definitely go to Montauk.

And not just in the summer. Montauk today isn’t Montauk 2010′s, it’s been Hamptonized to an extent. But it’s still the end of the line, it still has a small town, Bohemian surfer vibe. Especially off season.

Gurney’s seawater spa is the perfect Valentine’s day getaway and is easiest overlooked if there for summer weddings on the beach.

And let’s not forget the drive. Driving in summer is like midtown in the afternoon, brutal. Driving off season is relaxing and almost reminds you that driving, especially behind the wheel of a great car, if fun. Bumper to bumper traffic is any car sucks, don’t kid yourself.

And once you’re there. Do things you’d never do in the summer, like hike to military base that inspired Netflix’s Stranger Things (“Montauk” was the original working title). Harvest on Fort Pond is a can’t miss dinner. And the dive bars like Liar’s Saloon make for a fun night.

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Oceanside: Suck at surfing

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I love surfing. I also suck at it.

Surfing touches every emotion: zen, fear, flight, fight and of course, jealously, like when an 8-year-old snags your wave and leaves you watching in amazement.

I love surfing and the first time I did it in NYC, I almost died. Somehow I thought floating on a board in Costa Rica prepared me to join friends in surfing Hurricane Hanna off Long Island. I thought going from a 9 foot learner board to my friends 6 foot board would be no problem… I mean c’mon, I watched Point Break.

Needless to say, I watched them for 10 minutes, figured I couldn’t just stand there in fear, I was a banking analyst after all. I paddled out with zero understanding of the side current and was thrown onto the jetty within 10 seconds. I held my head to avoid getting knocked out and just rag dolled over the rocks.

My friends watched in horror along with a bystanders on the beach. One guy said he thought he was going to watch me die. Funny story, that guy actually gave me a surf lesson two years later that my girlfriend had bought me. He remembered me.

What is the point of this story. I love surfing.

Did I have to wake up an hour earlier to get my body bandaged like a mummy at the DB health center, sure.

But as an Indiana guy, being a surfer, or even just a professional wave floater was an escape from the concrete jungle.

My favorite place stateside is Oceanside, the last of the Cali beach towns. Just south of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, which acts as kind of a California DMZ separating LA and San Diego, is a beautiful spot of easy living and more importantly, easy waves to catch.

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Days surfing and nights smoking cigars with ex-Marines hearing history and conspiracy theories, that’s how you disconnect.

The Confidante: Miami up north

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Sometimes you Airbnb a getaway house in the Florida Keys, sometimes that Airbnb cancels your reservation while you’re in the airport getting ready to fly down.

No worries, Miami detour. Oh wait, I’m rolling with Teddie, my morkie… so let’s go ahead and filter away all my top options. It’s pet-friendly time. Teddie saying “take me with you!”, #dogcustom, #nextfrontier.

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Luckily, I remembered Talde, a cool restuarant a Top Chef guy from Brooklyn opened. Spoke with people staying at the hotel above it with their dogs. And boom, the Confidante to the rescue.

10 years ago, Miami was Miami Beach. Going to Super Bowl XLIV last second to watch my Colts lose, I remember staying just north of 20th street and thinking I was in Fort Lauderdale. Fast forward to today, staying 40th street is great. Miami Beach in reach, but at arms length. Call it the suburbanization of Miami.

The Confidante treated Teddie like a star and de-stressed the whole dog in hotel, when am I getting that disturbance call, routine. Speaking of, the morning gym classes on the roof or beach after a boardwalk puppy stroll are a great routine to get into. The scene is solid, pools divided. A favorite spot, the Freehand Hostel, is just a few blocks away.

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In short, Miami has changed, from Wynwood to Brickell to up north ie the 30′s and 40′s of Miami Beach, there’s more to see and experience than what now looks like more than ever, the tourist trap of Ocean Drive.

I even dusted the rust off my Foosball game, nothing close to my ’09 Deutsche bullpen form but toasted some teenagers nonetheless.

Cuba: The embargo worked

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I am by no means a travel expert, but if I had one piece of advice. It’s travel now where things are changing the fastest.

Hong Kong, London, Costa Rica, Mexico… they’ll always be there.

The Great Barrier Reef, an undeveloped Machu Picchu, a Cuba stuck in time… those are experiences with a vintage date.

Thus Havana, once the Rome of the Caribbean, which has been left for the Canadians and Russians, has always been at the top of my list. When Trump won, I booked. Silly me for waiting.

Cuba is fascinating, as a history major, it’s a complex and woven history with threads from many great powers. As an American, I wanted to hear their side of the story and understand how this little island was such a big threat. Long story short, it only takes one man with one finger on one nuclear bomb to be a threat worth facing. Sadly something we see playing out today with North Korea.

Like most conflicts, the people suffer while the leaders carve their place in the history books. Fidel, educated, passionate, and ultimately paralyzed by fear, was a different leader than campaigner.

Now to today. Fact, the embargo worked. Buildings are collapsing on the reg. Next, oil prices are low, so Russia and now Venezuela can’t help. So Uncle Sam and democracy are the Cuban people’s only hope.

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Hope comes in the form of tourism. Hard cash. And with a tourism triple threat of great beaches, rum and cigars, it’s worth a trip.

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Go before Home Depot and Marriot make it Miami-lite. Havana alone will do. Simply put people-to-people exchange and talk to a Cuban and bring back cigars, your friends will judge if you don’t.

And last, go to El Cocinero Restaurant followed by the Fabrica de Arte Cubano for a great night.

Hamilton: When hype delivers

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Few things have been more of a thorn in the side of NYC guys than Hamilton. Every girlfriend or wife wants to see it, and almost every dinner involves someone else’s girlfriend or wife talking about it.

And thus, NBA playoff game 7 type money gets spent on this show.

And now and again, the game changes. MJ did it. And not to hype the bandwagon but so did Hamilton. It’s different. It provides a medium for history than keeps it alive, hell it kept Hamilton on the $10.

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Now I’d been to In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s earlier foray into rapping a story. What separates Hamilton is the story. Alexander Hamilton is gangster and has street cred in a way that the In The Heights characters didn’t.

Sometimes a confluence of factors come together to as I said, change the game, here it’s history, medium and story. Let’s be honest, if this story wasn’t about a founding father, the affluent ticket buying audience wouldn’t be there is the same way.

Now, good news if you haven’t seen it. What makes it special is the story of Hamilton and the writing of Lin-Manuel, not the performers.

So buy yourself some time and save yourself some money by seeing it on the national tour. The great elements behind the show will be there and it shouldn’t experience the same drop off that other shows do outside of NYC.

Experience history at upstate Fort Ticonderoga

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Fort Ticonderoga has always had amazing history, but now the experience has caught up, making it worthy of a city escape by car or train. Sometimes the “Under New Management” sign is a good thing, though usually it means your favorite dive bar is closing.

Much of the fort is restored and now there’s a King’s Garden, boat cruise, craft beer bar and much more to convince your lady it’s not a reenactment of Last of the Mohicans, which by the way takes place close by in the Adirondacks.

If you’re both into hiking, canoeing, Vermonty type main streets, then even better. Everything takes place against an amazing backdrop and there’s a train that runs right up to the fort.

Fall in the Adirondacks is an experience in of itself. A collage of color and a great way to unwind before the ensuing winter grind.

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US Open: Worth playing hooky

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The US Open is an experience. I didn’t know that when I was an analyst / associate only looking for big names in Arthur Ashe at night.

Now I do, and I recommend making tennis fun again (or for the first time) by making a day of it. USTA has 17 courts with action during the first week, so just like March Madness in Vegas, you can jump around to the action you want to see. Plus like Vegas, refreshments are easily accessible.

Unlike Vegas, there are tennis people. The ones from a 90′s polo catalog. But they secretly want tennis to be fun too and you’re cheering and clever chants are what they’ve been waiting for since John McEnroe retired.

To make the US Open worth playing hooky, tailgate rooftop style before heading out, rep some USA gear and bring a change of clothes to class it up at night for an evening dinner.

See photos of US Open to make up your mind.

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Oceans vs lakes: A summer battle we all win

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I am from Indiana, which means pools, and if you’re lucky, lakes. After moving to NYC and spending time with Long Islanders, I become jealous of their ocean. Surfing before school, then lacrosse after school, c’mon.

I was the guy in the Hamptons share that bailed for Montauk in 2011 because no one in the Hamptons wanted to go to the beach. To me, sitting at a pool while an ocean was so close was heresy.

I also spent my summers upstate on Lake George in the Adirondacks. Which during August and September, is pool temperature and perfectly peaceful. Teddie and I rolling.

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For me, oceans and lakes were both a big step up from pools, but what surprised me was how some ocean people have little interest in lakes and vice versa. Clearly worthy of click bait, BuzzFeed and all else. Why lakes. Best comparison found at Bro Bible. [spoiler, it's 4-3 lakes] Now let’s take a step back. More articles say lakes are better than oceans. But is that because oceans don’t need to bother making a case. We all know guilty people offer up defenses first. Luckily for you, I’ve read the click bait so you don’t have to. In short, if you’re young and/or single > ocean. It’s easier to new people. If you’re older and/or not single > lake. It’s easier to kick annoying people off private property.

Regardless, it’s a fun question to ask friends or dates as most people have a passionate view on the subject. What isn’t debatable is how bad I am at surfing.  

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