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20 Years of Patagonia in New York City

LIVING & BREATHING 95—15


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Our Town In the early 1990s, certain towns were regarded by the outdoor industry as good outdoor towns: Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Boston. These places had easy access to the mountains and large communities of people who defined themselves by what they did outdoors: As climbers, skiers, hikers, rafters, sailors, etc., or simply as inheritors of the American tradition of being in nature to learn its lessons or to drink in its awe and wonder. Los Angeles, our nearest big city, wasn’t considered an outdoor town (the classic L.A. getaways were Vegas for gambling or Palm Springs for golf). New York, where everyone wore black, had an agent and stayed up past nine—not an outdoor town, either. Nevertheless, we were drawn to the city in 1995, for the 19th-century cast-iron or brick buildings, for the community energy evident in a town where everyone walks, the proximity to the Gunks, the sight of surfboards on the Queens-bound A Train. We were impressed that, within months of opening SoHo, it became our largest store by sales volume. We turned out to have more in common with New York than we thunk. New York, a New Yorker once told us, is for people who hated high school. It’s a place where the unconventional who never fit in, can. New York is for anyone who wants to do anything exceptionally well and find teachers and comrades and a place. New York, with its stellar constellation of energy in dozens of occupations and fields of interest, including the reimagining of how we can live and work in cities in more satisfying ways and help give the planet a rest. New York is for those who break ground and those whom the groundbreakers engage when they want to learn or create something new. All of this makes us feel at home here. New York is not across the board a Patagoniac’s town, not the best place to be a dirtbag living out of your van or a skier in search of 100 powder days a year. But in no place outside Japan have we ever found such large numbers of friends and customers who understand intrinsically our obsession with quality, durability and function. Nowhere else could we shut down the stores for most of the day for the People’s Climate March and join so many of our friends and customers in the streets. We have four stores in New York now, and each has its own character. Upper West Side is the neighborhood corner store. Bowery is where the surfing community makes itself at home. Meatpacking has back issues of Alpinist out for climbers. The new SoHo is Manhattan Central for Patagonia, with plenty of space to do local repairs and host community events. Thank you for helping us celebrate 20 years in what has turned out to be a second home for us—and thank you for making it possible.

— Patagonia & Our New York Store Employees

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In a city bursting with creativity, Timmy O’Neill finds a new approach to a venerable facade. Photo: Jeff Johnson

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Brian Willmont, Untitled, 2014. Enamel on Canvas, 24 × 18"


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20 Yrs of Patagonia(living & breathing)in NYC.

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The new Patagonia SoHo. After 20 Years on Wooster Street, our three-story home at 72 Greene Street features a Worn Wear repair center, a community work station and reclaimed architectural details like the historic Domino Sugar Factory’s longleaf pine that we used in beams, tables and fixtures. Photo: Ari Burling


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20 Years in NYC The Big Worm The Buzz is Unbelievable Not Bound by Contradiction New York , I ’m Pretty Sure I Love You Seeing in Sepia Navigating the Nose Behind the Lines Keeping it Local On Ar t and Lawlessness Wild in NYC Eat or Be Eaten The Surreal City Rainforest Relief Spotte d in SoHo Better Than New Field Notes Gone Marching 4

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Patagonia Bowery employee Joey Dwyer usually takes photos of heaving barrels. Take one glance at his Instagram, @jwdproductions, and if you’re a surfer, you’ll be on the next flight to New York. Based in Brooklyn, Joey also does things like snap rad shots of the J Train.


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20 Years in NYC (According to Patagonia)

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1996: Magnolia Bakery opens, changing NYC’s relationship with cupcakes forever.

1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009: The Yankees win the World Series.

1998: The band The Strokes forms, defining downtown NYC cool.

1995: Our first New York store opens at 101 Wooster St. in SoHo.

2007: The New Museum opens on the Bowery. (Fun fact: NYC has 180 museums. If you visited a different one each week, it would take more than three years to see them all.)

1996: We stop using conventionally grown cotton, adopting 100% organic cotton for all cotton products.

2009: The High Line, Manhattan’s first elevated park, opens.

2010: SoHo’s historic landmark status, designated in 1973, is extended, preserving the entire SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District where our Greene St. store is located.

2011: The Occupy Wall Street protests, starting in Zuccotti Park, gain national attention.

2011: Our “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad runs on Black Friday in The New York Times.

2011: We open our Upper West Side outpost at 426 Columbus Ave.

Photos in chronological order by: Tim Davis, Tim Davis, Tim Davis, Luc Hardy, Patagonia

Art Dept., Thomas Smith, Ari Burling, Patagonia Art Dept., Kyle Sparks, Tim Davis, Patagonia Art Dept., Mandel Ngan, Tim Davis, Tim Davis, Patagonia Art Dept., Tim Davis, Tim Davis, Scott Massey


2001: NYC’s population reaches a whopping 8,008,278 people.

2002: Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies co-found 1% for the Planet. 2011: New York becomes the sixth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

2003: A massive blackout strikes, a.k.a. that time we all got free ice cream because restaurants’ freezers went out.

2005: Chouinard publishes his seminal memoir and manifesto Let My People Go Surfing.

2011: On September 12, the 9/11 Memorial opens.

2011: The first-ever East Coast ASP World Tour pro surfing competition kicks off on Long Island.

2012: Patagonia Provisions debuts with salmon jerky sustainably caught in British Columbia’s Skeena watershed.

2013: Patagonia Bowery, our first East Coast surf shop, opens in the old CBGB’s Annex.

2012: We open Patagonia Meatpacking, our first technical climbing store in New York, at 414 W 14th St.

2012: Patagonia becomes California’s first B Corporation.

2006: The Pizza Principle, a.k.a. the notion that the price of a slice will always be equal to a subway ride, remains at a steady $2.25.

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

2003: Smoking banned statewide in bars and restaurants.

2015: We deliver a petition with over 70,000 signatures to President Obama to crack down on deadbeat dams.

2015: Twice a year the sunset directly aligns with Manhattan’s street grid, producing an effect known as Manhattanhenge. The last one occurred while we were working on this publication. Coincidence, or...?

2014: All New York stores close for the day to participate in the People’s Climate March. 2014: Our employees volunteer 7,162 hours through our Environmental Internship Program. 2015: Our 72 Greene St. store opens with a cash register built from recycled steps of the old MoMA. (Check it out!)


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Front page of the Globe, an internal Patagonia publication printed to keep all employees up to date.

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101 Wooster Street, shot in the late ’90s by Ron Hunter, a pioneer of Patagonia retail grants.


THE BIG WORM

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5, 6 by D a n i e l l e Eg g e While working on this book project, we uncovered a lot of great Patagoniac fables. First we had Vice President of Environmental Affairs Rick Ridgeway stopping us in the hallway, reminding us of years past when purchase orders that were too large were thrown away, because “Shit, we couldn’t fill those!” Then Director of Company Philosophy Vincent Stanley handed over some gems, like the May 1995 Patagonia Globe issue you see here. An internal publication, the Globe was printed by Vincent and his team to help keep Patagonia employees up to date. It stopped circulating years ago and we’d never seen a copy, so it was with wide eyes that we flipped through it. On the front page, announcing Patagonia SoHo’s beginnings, was the claim that we were finally “Worming Our Way into the Big Apple.” We also learned that May 1995 brought a few other interesting tidbits for the Patagonia history nerd. —

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We hired our first Surfwear Merchandiser, Craig Comen, whose listed qualifications included “pro on the international ASP and the U.S.-based PSAA tours…and a proficient board shaper.” We declared that we would “discontinue the use of conventional, chemical-intensive cotton” by Spring 1996. We celebrated Patagonia Japan’s one-year anniversary. We announced that we would be moving distribution from Ventura, California to a new center in Reno, Nevada. The primary reason for choosing Reno was “the proximity it provides employees to skiing, climbing, fishing and paddling in the Sierras.”

Excerpted from Worming Our Way into the Big Apple: (May 1995)

At one time or another since his arrival at Patagonia in 1983, Peter Noone has run all of Patagonia’s sales operations, whether wholesale, mail order or retail. But retail has been Peter’s most consistent responsibility and singular expertise. He’s our retail savant. Peter has located, renovated and opened every domestic Patagonia store outside of Ventura, and now works exclusively on new-store development. He spends as much of his free time as he can fly fishing in Montana. For years we have been dispatching Peter to scout the canyons of New York City for a building that meets our three criteria for a new store: central, charming and cheap. And for years Peter has returned home a tired Ulysses, suffering from cab-bailer’s bursitis, emptyhanded except for a stack of $1.5m-a-year rent quotes and a few crumpled receipts from Zabar’s and Whiskey’s. “[A location] took us a long time to find because New York rents are so high, geography’s tough—it’s hard to travel east/west across the park. So we concentrated finally on SoHo,” he says. Persistence pays. Last summer Peter did indeed find us the perfect home in New York, at 101 Wooster Street in the heart of SoHo, a neighborhood of turnof-the-century cast-iron buildings and narrow streets. It has galleries, stores, restaurants and urban energy, and it is easily accessible from both the Upper East and Upper West Sides. “This is our ninth store in the U.S., and I think it will be a successful store for us,” says Peter. The store will carry the full Patagonia line as well as selected hard goods. We began renovations in March and the store is slated for a late-May opening. ♥

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

How We Found Our Way to NYC


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The Buzz is Unbelievable (New York Through a Familiar Lens) — Jeff Johnson

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I love New York. I’m not a city person—I lived in Hawai‘i for 15 years. I always thought New York was going to be this super intimidating and really rough place. What I found, however, is that it’s the most honest place I’ve ever been. If people are going to help you, they’ll help you out 100% and are super friendly about it. If they don’t want to talk to you, they’re just not going to talk to you. There’s no bullshit. And, I mean, it is big and intimidating, but it’s not exactly as I expected. The buzz is unbelievable. I think that living in New York is for some people what living on the North Shore of Oahu was for me. I lived in the country with chickens and stuff, but it has some of the best surf in the world. It’s the epicenter of surf, and there’s always a buzz in the air there. New York has that similar buzz. It’s infectious.


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Timmy O’Neill exploring the contours of the Brooklyn War Memorial in Cadman Plaza. Photo: Jeff Johnson This is Kellen Keene setting up the Slow Is Fast display in one of the stores, and that’s Dan Malloy crouched behind him. Avers playing at the Bowery shop to celebrate the release of Going Out Is Going In, a book project I collaborated on with James Joiner. All the proceeds of the book go to 1% for the Planet. It’s a project I’m really stoked on, and Avers ended up donating a music track to it. Justin Tassone on his way to work. This TV was in the Bowery location when we first rented it. The place was completely torn apart, and it was just sitting there with those beer bottles.

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Timmy O’Neill hanging on the Manhattan Bridge. I love the Bowery store and the community it draws. And the fact that it’s in the same building as CBGB is so cool. It’s like we have a little part in punk rock history. This is DL Tashjian, who manages the Bowery shop. He’s one of the best New York tour guides out there. Every time I visit, I look forward to hanging out with him. Honestly, Timmy never stops. Here he is scaling the library. This is DL with Joy Lewis, who used to manage the four New York stores. Todd Hannigan and Fernando Apodaca are good friends from Ventura. They came out to New York to play music before we screened Slow is Fast at the Bowery shop.

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Jeff Johnson is a creative brand agent for Patagonia. His stories and photographs have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Surfer’s Journal, Alpinist, Surfer, Climbing magazine, and Outside. He has published two books, Bend to Baja and 180 South: Conquerors of the Useless, the latter of which was turned into a documentary film. He divides his time between the mountains and the ocean (and on occasion: New York).


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Girl Talk with Rose Marcario and Kris Tompkins

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Not Bound by 4 Contradiction by D a n i e l l e Eg g e

Rose Marcario, Kris Tompkins and I sit down together, and for the first five minutes there’s just laughter. When I ask if they’ve had a chance to read my interview questions, they laugh some more, shake their heads no, and say they do better with spontaneity. Regardless, I’m feeling quite smug. I’d wanted to interview two specific Patagonia CEOs—the CEO who opened the first Patagonia store in SoHo (Kris), and the current CEO (Rose) who has seen three more Manhattan locations open. Not only that, but I wanted to interview them together. It was my hope to listen to a lively conversation regarding all things Patagonia in New York, both past and present. And although Kris lives in Chile, here we were—gathered around a table in Rose’s office, with me feeling victorious. But when the chatter subsides, Kris looks at me, eyebrows raised, and goes, “So, Danielle, you know you’re two years off, right? I retired from Patagonia in 1993, long before we landed in New York.” My stomach drops to the floor, the laughing starts again, and I try to recover. “I think you can still spin it,” Kris says. Patagonia belongs to the Chouinard family, which means it’s a private company. This also means the company’s leadership comes in the form of a small 76-year-old surfer, Yvon, and his similarly-sized firecracker wife, Malinda. These two can—and regularly do—make decisions that, from a profit perspective, seem ill-informed, uncompromising and contradictory. Rose and Kris, on the other hand, aren’t surfers—they’re both intense, highly intelligent and, in the best sense, incredibly calculating. Rose has tripled Patagonia’s profits, while Kris, though “retired,” is one of the globe’s leading environmental activists. Between the two of them stands over 30 years of carrying out uncompromising contradictions with cult-like passion and dedication. When conversing with these ladies, it comes to light that the Chouinard’s decisions only seem confused. Kris began working at Patagonia as a webbing cutter back when it was just Chouinard Equipment. She soon graduated to Queen of Mail Order, and by the early ’80s she was general manager, ultimately paving the path


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“We didn’t want customers to buy more, but to buy what they needed.” — KT

to becoming CEO. Kris’s intimate knowledge of Patagonia’s genesis is invaluable and, as she says, she now gets involved “whenever shit hits the fan.” Rose’s story is less romantic, but to me is incredibly impressive. With years of experience in public companies and private equity, she started at Patagonia in 2008 as CFO, fully prepared to make change. By transforming the company’s infrastructure, Rose’s dedication has doubled its breadth of operations. Plus, she’s brilliant enough to know when the old guard isn’t seeing the bigger picture—so she’s also there when shit hits the fan. Given their knack for getting the job done, our conversation quickly digs deep. Kris pulls her knees to her chest and speaks as though she is Patagonia: “We’re always swimming in a sea of contradictions,” she sighs, and we step back 40 years. In the ’70s, she explains, product was mainly purchased through the catalogs, where Patagonia had complete control over what they said and who they were. “At the time, retail was our next huge opportunity to translate our purpose and environmental ideals directly to the public,” she says. Yet expanding to retail stores uncovered the age-old Patagonia conundrum. “We didn’t want customers to necessarily buy more,” Kris explains, “but to buy what they needed. And we wanted more folks to join our fight for solutions to the environmental crisis.” Rose, leaning forward and zeroing in on Kris, pipes up: “Why did we make really distinct decisions to not be in popular shopping locations?” At this, Kris just shrugs and explains that it was “our dislike and boredom with business and businessmen in the first place.” They wanted to be located in places they were interested in, with people they were interested in. “It might have been naïve of Malinda,” Kris muses, “but she wanted the stores to be ‘gifts to the community.’ It was so novel at the time because everyone was falling in love with strip malls. We were working against malls, probably to our detriment in terms of sales.” We start rambling about how much we hate malls, but Rose pulls us together, bringing us back to the topic at hand—New York retail. “Which is why we never built on Fifth Avenue,” she interjects, and Kris emphatically nods. We start talking about the new SoHo store, which after 20 years has just moved from its original location at 101 Wooster Street to 72 Greene Street. While SoHo may have once been a “quirky” location, as Kris puts it, it’s now a primary shopping district. The Greene St. store will hopefully sell more fleece than several other Patagonia locations combined. We ponder this hope: Is it contrary to the brand’s commitment to buying less? We realize we’ve resurfaced in Kris’s sea of contradictions. It doesn’t take long, however, to conclude that a SoHo location is ideal: The more people 18

Rose in her Better Sweater that she refuses to pay less than full price for. Photo: Tim Davis

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Rose and Patagonia retail employees at the People’s Climate March. Photo: Tim Davis


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through the doors, the more chances we get to shed light on issues such as climate change. This reminds us of last year’s People’s Climate March. Rose starts to rave about when all four New York stores closed early, allowing employees to participate in the march. I can see Kris getting excited. “I’m so down with things like that,” she exclaims, “I hope that Patagonia throws down! We need to be radical. I don’t think you can say much right now as a company that is too shocking. I really don’t.” At this comment, Rose smiles and says, “You know, Kris, I have this big wall at home that I’ve covered in blackboard paint. On it is a piece of advice you gave me one day: ‘You don’t get points for holding back!’” Kris just smiles and shrugs, “Well, it’s true,” she says. I sheepishly approach the subject of their gender. Rose immediately declares her dislike for when women in leadership are asked how it feels to be in a position of power—as if they’re oddities. “It means I’m an anomaly or a novel thing,” she cries, “It’s not a good question for young women to hear!” I’m nearly crawling under the table with question-regret when Kris pipes up: “I’m sorry, Rose, but I would make the opposite case: They have reason to ask you.” Rose leans back, attentive, and Kris continues, “It’s a man’s world still, so while questions like that may get tiresome and awkward, they stem from an exhausted female community struggling to manifest their innate talents,” she explains, hands expressively flying. Then with a flourish, she adds: “You are novel, Rose. You’re an anomaly! You’re extremely successful, and not just within Patagonia.” There’s a brief pause, a deep breath and she goes in for the kill: “It’s a form of activism,” she slowly declares. “When you hear these questions, it’s a form of activism to keep your eyes from rolling back in your head and to simply answer.” Whether or not Rose agrees doesn’t really matter or show. “That’s good advice,” she says simply. Glad that we’re seemingly on the same team again, I move on to what I feel is another tired question: The dilemma of our urban customer. “How does Patagonia, an outdoor brand, gain relevance and resonate with its New York City customer base?” Rose, who’s from the city, shrugs and says, “Well, I’m one of those people. I’m not a ‘dirtbag.’ It’s not that Yvon’s life as a dirtbag is something exclusive—it’s just at the heart and soul of the brand. It’s where Yvon’s life began, so it’s meaningful to us.” Kris’s feet are now propped up on the table and she looks thoughtful. “I think that’s really well put, Rose” she says. “People just want to know


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that we’re designing for those that know what they’re doing. That whole dirtbag thing—our worry should be more how the dirtbags that are left can actually afford our stuff. It’s pretty expensive!” Rose does a quick roll of the eyes, but it’s paired with a laugh. She knows. “Here’s the contradiction again,” Kris exclaims. “But I’m glad that I see people walking around New York City in Patagonia. You see a lot more North Face, but I tend to think that when you see someone with Patagonia on, they made a choice. When you buy from us, you’re getting a whole slew of controversial things on the side. So it’s a choice, and I’m glad whenever I see it.” Sitting quietly, I let the two of them take it from there as they spend the next ten minutes discussing how we should activate the wealth of New York City. This activation these women speak of, however, doesn’t result in more puffy jackets, but rather a cleaner Hudson or better protected Catskills. “I’m not worried about the dirtbag and Madison Avenue conflict. I think we should use it!” Kris shouts, her fist nearly in the air. “New York City is about communities, nurturing them and bringing them together,” Rose says. She tells us of her great-grandfather who immigrated from Italy and how he’d be shaking his head in disappointment if he saw the corporatization of spaces like Times Square. “But that’s what I worry about with us,” she concedes. “I worry of Patagonia getting lost in New York and becoming bougie.” Seriousness descends onto the table, because all three of us know Rose’s worry is not unfounded. As petty as “bougie” accusations may seem, it’s clear that both Rose and Kris know the Patagucci digs carry weight. “Well, what the frack?!” Kris says. (Yes, she actually said “frack.”) “What are we supposed to be doing? We’re all a work in progress.” And as though the bougie worry is too weighty or large, the conversation is spent. The next words come from Rose: “You inspire me, Kris,” to which her predecessor replies with, “Well, you have no fear, Rose. I don’t know where that comes from.” And then they both expectantly look at me, like I should have the article right then and there, and Kris ends with “I don’t know what on earth you’re going to write about.” ♥ 20

In 2000, Yvon Chouinard, Kris and her husband Doug started a land trust (Conservacion Patagonica) for the purpose of purchasing land in

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Argentina and Chile to create national parks and preserves. Photo: Patagonia Archives Kris in Patagonia. Photo: Tim Davis


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New York, I’m Pretty Sure I Love You

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by J a m i e B ri s i c k / i l l u s tra ti o n s by G e o r g e B a te s

I moved to New York in 2001 to get away from surfing. I’d grown up in Southern California, surfed on the pro tour for five years and worked as the executive editor of Surfing Magazine. At age 35, I was saltwaterlogged to the point of disgust. I wanted new experiences. If there was a lesson learned from a life in the waves, it was to think fast, stay loose, bend the knees. I hit the city with big dreams—to expand my writing, but also to expand myself. I vowed to play my surfing background down. I was certain it would mark me as the dumbest guy in the room. Among my Yale- and NYUand Columbia-grad friends, I felt deeply inadequate. Though I’d surfed hard, I knew no serious rigor—certainly not on the intellectual front. But the surfing life, as I discovered against the backdrop of the city, is a venerable one. Built into it is travel, adaptability, the getting out of comfort zones. It charges you with bounce. It keeps you dancing. To my surprise, I found a distinct parallel between surfing and life in New York City. In fact, during long walks—I’m a walker, and if I can get around trains and taxis I will—I found myself buzzing with something that felt like surfing. I found this at the dinner table as well. As a surfer, I’d fly to Cape Town or Sydney and in the course of a day ride a warbly beachbreak, a slamming reef, a ricocheting wedge, all unfamiliar and strange. As a New York resident, I’d meet a friend for dinner and suddenly find myself sitting with an Australian documentary filmmaker, a Venezuelan hat maker, an English investment banker, a Norwegian model, all of whom

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

An Ode to Surfing’s Unlikely Antidote


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“No matter how weird or strange, there will always be someone outweirding and out-strange-ing you.” — JB

I’d never met before. There was a pulse to the city that electrified me the same way the ocean did. One was stirred by distant storms, wind on water. The other was whipped up by people who came to the city with passion and ambition and deep engagement with the world. I loved watching people break into song on subways and streets. At first I thought this was about abandoning self-consciousness—and to some degree it was—but over time I realized it was really about space. In such a densely populated city, it’s hard to find privacy. You learn how to be yourself in public. No matter how weird or strange, there will always be someone out-weirding and out-strange-ing you. That was a kind of personal growth I was interested in. People double for nature in New York City. I came to this realization after several years of living downtown. There were no blue horizons to ponder, no rustling trees out my window, no birdsong to wake up to. But there were over eight million warm bodies, beating hearts, inhalers and exhalers. The more I embraced this, the better I felt. Human contact assuaged the coldness of concrete and steel. And there was real surf, too. One fall day in 2002, I paddled out to churny and thunderous 90th Street in Rockaway Beach. I’d had a long lapse between surfs, my timing was slow, and the double-overhead teepees heaved me over the falls and ground me into the sandbar time and time again. Short-interval southeast swells had serious whomp. They were less consistent than their West Coast counterparts, but when they came, they came with fanged lips. Decades ago, when Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski were giant and potentially dangerous influences in my life, I came across a late’70s issue of Surfer Magazine featuring an interview with Timothy Leary. He had a psychedelic-Eastern-transhumanist take on surfing—he called it “our highest evolutionary activity” and “the spiritual style of the liberated self.” 23-4 Mixed media images by George Bates. He has two permanent public NYC subway installations and is a part-time professor at Parsons School of Design. When not working he’s probably surfing, or thinking about surfing and how it’s a useful metaphor for everything.


behind. Like tadpoles evolving into frogs, we must bring what we learned in the surf and apply it to our terrestrial lives. Now, years

later, I wonder what combination of red wine and hashish inspired such rants, but there was some truth there. I see how the dynamism of surfing can be applied to a dynamic, urban life. I see a direct link between what I once saw as two disparate worlds. ♥

Jamie Brisick has written the books We Approach Our Martinis With Such High Expectations and Have Board, Will Travel: The Definitive History of Surf, Skate, and Snow. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Details, and The Surfer’s Journal. In 2008 he was awarded

a Fulbright Scholarship. He lives in New York City.

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At the time I read it, I was traveling constantly. I’d been around the world surfing, but it was time to leave the board behind and hit less familiar and comfortable zones, namely cultural epicenters like Paris, London, Rome, São Paulo, Manhattan. I was making up for lost time. I began to formulate theories to fit the latest turn in my odyssey. (The hubris! The hubris!) In my journal, I wrote things like: Surfers must leave the beach


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Seeing in Sepia (A Dialogue of Kindred Spirits) — Joni Sternbach i n te r v i ew by Ya s h a Wa l l i n

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Years ago, Brooklyn-based photographer Joni Sternbach had a serendipitous experience with a group of surfers in Montauk. It became a turning point in her work and the beginning of an ongoing visual dialogue with a group of kindred spirits. Sternbach has since gone on to travel the world, documenting surfers in their natural habitat using a historical photographic medium, the tintype. Her latest anthology, Surf Site Tin Type , compiles a selection of these encounters.


because they’re positives, the exposure time

anthropological study of a particular group of individuals. Having had so many surfers as your subjects, how would you describe this tribe in your own words?

is shorter and makes them practical to work

The tribe I’ve encountered are adven-

in daylight, I see the results right away—as

turers. To me, they’re wave-riding voyagers

do my subjects. Everyone loves the immedi-

who continually set off on an epic journey.

acy. ¶ I learned how to make tintypes when

Their hearts are at the inner core of the surf

I first started photographing the ocean in

world. These are the people that at some

1999. At that time the process didn’t seem

point looked at the world and decided to keep

to suit the subject matter, so I continued in

surfing. ¶ They’re also a tribe that quietly

film for several years. But when I launched

avoids noisy trends. They idealize surfing

into making wet plates full-time, I wanted to

as it was before the great burst of commer-

remain close to the water. I began a project

cialization beginning with Hollywood and

titled “Abandoned,” photographing architec-

ending with Hollister; they eschew fancy

tural ruins along the shoreline. Those first

rides and honor the risk-takers that came

tintypes captivated me and allowed me to

before them. These lean, magic people are

play with time and process in a way that pho-

surfers, not consumers, and they know you

tography does best. Historically, tintypes

can’t buy experience. It has to be clocked.

were more portrait-based; I liked turning

j s

y w

js

with. The emulsion is poured, sensitized, exposed and developed all while the plate is wet. The process is handmade and immediate, and because the plates are fixed

You’ve developed an amazing relationship, yet it started by accident. Can you elaborate?

the tides around, making landscapes in a

[Laughs.] That’s the irony of it all.

was a way to converse with history.

The people I tried to shoo out of my picture

medium known for portraiture and using the same portrait lenses for landscapes. It y w

In his introduction to your book, writer Lyle Rexer talks about both photography and surfing as necessities. Do you feel that photography is a necessity in your life?

on the drive that the sun was going to break

j s

Most definitely. I’ve been making pic-

through and make its way into the day. So

tures for over 35 years, and it’s what I grew

I set up my 8×10 camera and took a couple

into adulthood doing. The only thing that’s

of shots. Suddenly, as the sun made its way

changed now is how I do it—not whether or

through the clouds, this miraculous light

not I do it. Lyle mentions in his essay that

event happened and lit up the ocean like a

surfing “tends toward a lifestyle rather than a

19-th century Dutch painting. I could hear

recreational activity. Photography is like that

all the surfers give a cheer. In that instant I

too.” Once you’ve embarked into the world of

felt we’d bonded.

wet plate photography, that statement makes

frame were the very same I sought to photograph years later. By chance that day, there were surfers in the water. The weather had been cloudy the day before, and I could see

y w

Why tintypes?

supreme sense. It’s a difficult process to work

j s

Oh gosh, that’s a loaded question with

with casually. By the nature of what it is, it

so many answers! Tintypes are one-of-a-kind,

becomes a lifestyle, and lifestyles have a way

beautiful objects that you can hold in your

of becoming necessities.

hands, turn upside down and look at from all

y w

sides. The process yields amazingly sharp results. Once they’re varnished, they glow and you can gaze deeply into them. My tintypes are direct positives on blackened metal—and

You’ve referred to the ocean as being the most emotional landscape on earth. Can you talk about how emotions come into play when using the outdoors as your workplace?

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

Surf Site Tin Type is an

y w


29


2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

Prior to photographing the ocean, my

there shooting. Go figure. Then once I started

pictures were narrative-based. I shot them

photographing surfers, the beach officially

both indoors and out, but they weren’t about

became my office.

our relationship to nature. And though they

y w

With the beach as your office, has your relationship to the natural environment evolved?

authentic emotion. My decision to photo-

js

I’ve become—as maybe we all have—

graph the ocean grew out of a desire for the

more aware of the impact of climate change,

authentic, and I changed my practice from

the politics of water and the endless develop-

one that was more studio-based to one where

ment that progress and time plop down on

I went ‘out there’ to make pictures. I started

the horizon. I feel the need to be in nature

shooting in the winter, so I experienced a

without the modern world forcing itself down

fair degree of bad weather. But the worse

my throat. My work now is very much about

the weather was, the happier I was to be out

our relationship with the landscape. ♥

j s

were meant to reveal emotional experiences, I felt staged pictures fell short of conveying

30, 31


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14.09.04 #2 Jo Jo is a surfer and wetsuit designer in Newquay, Cornwall. We met at Towan Beach where the tide comes between the rocks quite dramatically. Ocean Details: 99.09.11#5 The ocean portraits are as much about the process of making them as they are about the result. I stand out there on the bluffs or at the edge of the shore with a dark cloth over my head attached to the camera and basically let the picture take itself. 06.11.09 #1 Turtle Cove This day in November brought warm temperatures and a nice swell to Montauk, but not in its customary spot, Ditch Plains. Turtle Cove is a break just a little further east, and at that time I could drive right up to it. This is a light test I made—the first image of the day to test the exposure. The surfer positioned himself just at the right time. 09.08.25 #9 Tony Caramanico Tony Caramanico is a legendary Montauk-based surfer and artist who has been surfing since the ’60s. He’s compiled an astounding number of journal entries that have become works of art that exist on their own and adorn many surfboards as well. I’ve been photographing Tony almost yearly since 2006. 10.02.17 #5 Chris & Dan Malloy The same friend who got me invited to the Ranch also arranged for me to meet the well-known surfer, adventurer and filmmaker Chris Malloy. Chris picked Refugio Beach for its semi-quiet setting and rough textural backdrop. Now it’s the site of a major oil spill. 13.02.10 #9 Oliver Parker Oliver Parker is a semi-pro surfer and chef who was introduced to me by Greg Schell. 09.02.12 #8 Lakey Peterson I met Lakey Peterson through her mother. In 2009, the year I photographed her, she landed the first-ever aerial in NSSA Women’s competition history and won the Open Women’s title at the age of 14. 09.02.21 #1 The Ranch This was my first photograph taken at the Hollister Ranch in California. I was invited by a friend to make pictures of a group of wonderful

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

35, 36

All images are © Joni Sternbach. Joni Sternbach’s photographs of surfers are published in book form for the first time in her new monograph entitled Surf Site Tin Type (Damiani, 2015). The book features texts by Lyle Rexer, April M. Watson, Chris Malloy and Johnny Abegg. For more information about the book, see jonisternbach.com. characters that live and surf there. While they tore off into the surf, I set up my equipment and had time for this one landscape before they came back and started lining up for their portraits. 33 13.02.05 #8 Malloy Brothers The Malloy brothers, from Ojai, California, are respected professional surfers, filmmakers and environmentalists. They’re all ambassadors for Patagonia and have a hand in designing wetsuits, apparel and accessories. 34  09.02.21 #9 Yvon Chouinard, Claire Chouinard & Matt Stoecker Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, with his daughter Claire and her now husband Matt Stoecker. After a day of shooting with friends at the Ranch, we ran into these three fishing and they sat for this 30-plus-second exposure. A truck drove by during the exposure, so the dog turned his head. 35 Ocean Details: 99.09.18 #15 I’m often drawn to adverse weather conditions that eradicate most of the typical seascape information, leaving either faint echoes of memory or turbulent disturbances of emotion. 36 14.07.24 #1 Robert & Wingnut Robert August and Robert ‘Wingnut’ Weaver starred in The Endless Summer and The Endless Summer II.


2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

7 Free Climber Lynn Hill’s Ascent to Great Heights

i n te r v i ew by M a ra B u rn s

Navigating the Nose


37


2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

38

Detroit-born Lynn Hill began climbing at 14. That was in 1975, before she’d even seen a picture of a rock climber. She cut her teeth in the Gunks, honing her skills in an era where the rules were just being made and just as quickly broken. Hill was the first person to free climb the Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite, doing so in less than 24 hours—one of many record-breaking ascents she went on to make. Over Hill’s career, her uphill challenges have also been off the mountain, changing gender stereotypes in the sport and the notion of what women are capable of athletically. To that end, she’s made the way up easier for all of us. It’s not often we get insight from a living legend and one of the greatest rock climbers of all time, but recently Patagonia Meatpacking’s Mara Burns sat down with Hill to do just that.

m b

l h

Since it’s the 20-year anniversary of Patagonia’s SoHo store, let’s start with what you were doing 20 years ago.

top down, I wasn’t climbing up into these po-

Oh boy. I was on the Nose. I was actu-

the route.

ally on the Nose again this year in January,

sitions that are insecure, touch-and-go style movements. That’s part of the difficulty of m b

The granite you were climbing there seems very insecure. I always thought it was because I hadn’t climbed in Yosemite until a couple of years ago. Then being out there, I thought maybe it was just me.

lh

That’s a very typical feeling. A lot of

as a matter of fact. m b

What has changed in the past two decades with respect to the Nose, Yosemite Valley and climbing in general?

l h

One thing that doesn’t change a lot is

the actual rock itself. When I looked at that

people don’t talk about how insecure they are

section—and maybe it’s because I’ve talked

because they figure it’s bad style. It’s part of

about that experience so much, and seen so

the ethic, “Oh, yeah, it’s no problem,” “it’s a

much video of it—it just didn’t look as hard as

little balancey,” or, “a little technical,” using

I remembered it. I found that to be very inter-

those key words that you know, “okay, so that

esting. It’s also because I was going from the

means it’s going to be an epic,” or “okay, fine,


goofing around with your friends. It may be

you kind of learn to suck it up and just deal

serious in the sense that you’re trying to do a

with it. That makes you a better climber.

hard move, but it’s still a feeling of freedom.

m b

Only five people have now done that climb. Why do you think that is?

¶ My objective now is to climb something

lh

It’s a matter of commitment. Jorg

here. Something that would challenge me

Verhoeven did in just a couple of days. I

and I don’t have to drive far. If we’re going

was pretty impressed, but not surprised.

to talk about environmentalism, we should

The reason it hasn’t been done more is that

probably not make our climbing objectives an

there aren’t that many people like Jorg that

airplane or long car ride away. I still do trav-

have that kind of ability to just come out on

el to climb because I like getting out to new

vacation and ascend the Nose.

places, and sometimes you do have to take

beautiful that has never been done around

m b

Is there any gear around now that you wish you’d had back then?

a car or plane. But I think as a regular life-

l h

I did the Nose with these shoes called

have in our own backyard. I live in Boulder,

style it’s nice to appreciate the resources we

the Bombas and they weren’t all that sticky.

so it’s possible.

It was in the era of when people were dis-

m b

What are some of your most memorable moments living in New Paltz, NY?

have good, sticky rubber. That single change

lh

New Paltz seemed like a throwback

would have made the climb easier for me.

to the ’60s, the time period I’m really fond

covering sticky rubbers, but it wasn’t the stickiest rubber. On granite it really helps to

m b

Do you have a favorite Patagonia piece?

of. People were questioning authority and

lh

My favorite Patagonia pieces haven’t

materialism, and they were against the war.

changed much. If it’s warm weather I wear

That was the beginning of what’s now called

the Serenity pants or capris. If it’s going to

the environmental movement. People were

be a little bit windy, or big wall-esque, I al-

aware of things like trying to leave no trace

ways bring the Houdini jacket because if it’s

and respect the rock. That was the culture

going to be cold it’s easy to climb with. And

in which I was introduced to climbing. It was

obviously a down jacket. That’s my favorite

all about style, how you got to the top.

layer for warmth. m b

lh

not focused on just getting more stuff and

m b

How have your own motivations for climbing changed over the past 20 years?

How did you learn to hone in on your own style?

lh

I was a gymnast, so I understood if

I climb at the gym during the week

you wanted to learn really complicated tricks,

you wanted to get good at gymnastics and

when my son’s at school, unless I get a little

like a double backflip, you had to practice.

extra time. And then I climb outside when I

m b

In your autobiography you talk about an American Alpine Club conference when Yvon Chouinard gave you a shirt that read “The Devil is a Hangdog.” Can you talk a little bit about hangdogging?

appreciate it because it’s something I still

lh

Hangdoggers were considered the

love to do. It’s the kind of activity that makes

ones that couldn’t get up the routes, so they

you feel free—you’re outside and just kind of

had to hang all over. Hangdogging in itself

have more time on the weekends, and on occasional trips. But I don’t get to go very much because I have an almost 12-year-old son. He doesn’t like to climb, and I’m pretty much a single mom. ¶ When I do get to climb, I really

37

Lynn Hill on a bomber jug after leading Insomnia. 5.11, Suicide Rock. Photo: Rick Ridgeway

38

Lynn Hill is neither on Pudgy Gumbies. Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Photo: Andrew Burr

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

then I’m going to be really desperate.” But


2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

isn’t a crime. It just isn’t the best style. The

using a home climbing wall or their local

t-shirt was kind of poking fun of this gen-

climbing gym, or they’re lucky enough

eration that was trying to push on harder

to live in a climbing area. Before or after

routes. ¶ On a route, your story of how long

work, they’ll run out and do a few laps on

it took you, how many falls, all that stuff, is

something. People always find a way to stay

an indication of how well you did it in terms

motivated and interested if that’s what

of style. If you went up and onsighted it, you

they’re dedicated to.

did it in perfect style. If you took two years

m b

Do you have any causes you’re passionate about at the moment?

ing somebody else’s experience, you weren’t

l h

No to GMOs, no to fracking, no to the

necessarily using good style. ¶ Now we all

wealth discrepancy we have in this country.

know the difference between good style and

Yes to creating a better experience for the

hanging on the same route for four years.

actual employee and allowing them more

The faster you do it, the better the style is,

freedom. I’m a proponent of the four-day

period. But it’s not an issue for anybody else

workweek. I don’t see why in this day and

if you spend four years on a climb, or how-

age people have to go to work all the time. ¶

ever long you spend. It’s your journey and if

We don’t need as much stuff as people think

that’s what you want to do, that’s fine. Look

they need. We don’t even need as much mon-

at the Dawn Wall—it took seven years. Seven

ey as people think they need. I find it difficult

years of effort to climb something that no-

to change as an individual, but I think that

body thought was possible. And that’s why

change starts with recognizing the issues and

they did it, because it was exciting.

then people might start thinking differently

and you left ropes up and you were affect-

m b

How long until we see a 5.16?

and working together to change that.

l h

I’m sure we’ll see one. I believe there’s

m b

How can we effect some of this change?

And people will always find a way to climb

lh

We need to question things and im-

something more difficult and more challeng-

prove things. I think Patagonia has done that

ing in one form or another. And it seems as

and said, “Well, we’re our own company here

if there are several factors that contribute to

and we can do things how we want. We’re

the difficulty. Certainly on the Dawn Wall

climbers, so we’re going to do it differently.”

it’s the size of the route. It’s a big route. 3,000

That makes a whole lot of sense to me. Why

feet and it’s extreme. ¶ The ultimate style,

not give back to the environment? We’re not

for somebody coming to the Nose now—I’m

going to have the same kind of beauty and

waiting for someday to do it onsight. That’s

clean earth, air, water. We’re not going to

what I’m waiting to see. I think it’ll happen

have that if we don’t take care of it. ♥

always a way to do better, there’s no ceiling.

in the near future. m b

lh

If you’re passionate about climbing, can you still maintain a work-life balance or do you have to give it your all? There are plenty of people with full-

time jobs who are just as dedicated to climbing as the professional climbers. They’re efficient and they spend their time wisely. They might supplement their training by

39

Mara Burns has been at Patagonia Meatpacking since 2013. She recently completed an environmental internship with Mohonk Preserve, the stewards of the local Gunks climbing area. She was inspired to apply at Patagonia after attending climbing area clean-up events sponsored by the company. She loves to climb, bake, practice yoga and speak Spanish.

One before the bus. Lynn makes a quick trip to Outer Space before son Owen gets home from school. Eldorado Canyon, Colorado. Photo: Chris Noble


39

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

“There are plenty of people that have full-time jobs that are just as dedicated to climbing as the professional climbers.”— LH


BEHIND THE LINES

8 by Ya s h a Wa l l i n

40

By day, Alelli Tanghal is a junior art director at Brooklyn creative agency Doubleday & Cartwright. There, her meeting doodles often serve as a catalyst for what she does in her time off: Working as one of New York’s most inspired illustrators. Through her perspectives—and her pen—objects are boiled down into a graphic simplicity infused with a clever twist. She’s beautifully anatomized everything from L Train commuters to Henri Matisse’s masterpieces at the MoMA, and we asked her to do the same for a special T-shirt graphic to celebrate Patagonia’s history in New York (41). The result is a myriad of city symbols, where fish roam free and rats reign supreme. Here, we learn more about the woman behind these thick black lines.

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

The Visual Notes of Illustrator Alelli Tanghal


41


2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

42

y w

Where are you from?

y w

Where’s your favorite place to work?

at

I was born and raised in Jersey, but I

at

A lot of my client work is done at my

currently live in Brooklyn.

desk, but I sort of like to work anywhere but

y w

How does New York affect your creative output?

my desk. If I can, I go where there’s fresh

at

There’s a lot of culture and I think it’s

down in a crowded museum and taking vi-

air and good people watching. Even sitting

the mix of people that I find inspiring. I’m big

sual notes is a way I like to work.

on people watching and noticing the small

y w

Do you have any recurring characters or symbols that you draw?

here. Something about this city makes you

at

I tend to redraw Matt Groening’s bun-

try—and when you fail, that failure is funny

ny a lot out of habit and love for the character.

or valuable somehow on a personal level.

I’d love to develop my own version one day,

quirks and struggles that come with living

y w

What’s your approach to a new project?

but his is so good. Maybe if I keep drawing,

at

If it’s for a client I do some research

it will come to me. y w

What vice fuels your creative process?

first, then sketch out my interpretations and

at

I’m a sucker for good coffee. I also have

ideas. When approaching my own work,

it bad for ramen. And I like to listen to a lot of

there’s usually a little more improv and tri-

instrumentals, along with some sad, drowsy

al and error, and some beautiful things can

music and Action Bronson.

come out of that.

y w

y w

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked to draw?

Are there favorite illustrators or creatives that you follow?

at

James Jarvis is one of my favorite

at

Newborn babies.

cartoonists right now. Matt Groening is

y w

How many sketchbooks do you have at home?

my hero and Lynda Barry is my soulmate.

at

Maybe 10 or 15, some not filled up

always looked up to—he’s got a good mix of

all the way. I still have my books from high

love, humor and sadness in his work that I

school and college. They’re hard to look at

like. I also see Louis CK as a creative I admire

and I wish I could get rid of them, but they

for his ability to stay true to his work. He’s

kept me sane at the time. So it’s hard to get

honest and not always a people pleaser, so

rid of things like that.

to me he’s an artist. ♥

40 41

Stephen Powers is definitely an artist I’ve

MoMA Sketch, 2015. Sketches for the T-shirt she designed for Patagonia, available at the SoHo store, 2015.

42 43 44 45

Puerto Rico, 2015. Young, 2015. Mondays, 2015. Faces, 2015.


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Keeping it Local

9

46, 47 wo r d s a n d p h o to s by M a r t y M o l i to ri s / A l p i n e E n d e avo r s

There are more than a lifetime’s worth of ice climbing destinations around the world— Ouray, Rainier, the Bugaboos, Banff, Alaska, Chamonix, Patagonia, Peru—and they’re all worth the trip. However, in addition to the usual factors like finances, time and gear, they all require one key ingredient—experience. But if you’re lucky enough to live in New York, you can easily get that experience in your own backyard. The Catskill Mountains have excellent terrain for beginners, but make no mistake, they also have no lack of challenging routes for climbing veterans. The Catskills offer it all—roadside crags, steep columns, multi-pitch cascading waterfalls and mixed routes. They provide great fun and training with more routes than you could possibly climb in one season. To keep

46

Alpine Endeavors Guide Joe Vitti showing a variation to the 1st Corner in the Devil’s Kitchen.

47

it interesting, there are five areas to explore: Kaaterskill Clove, Platte Clove, Stony Clove, Deep Notch and the Route 28 Corridor. (And that’s not including the ice that forms in the Gunks.) Kaaterskill Clove Kaaterskill Clove offers roadside ice for beginning to advanced climbers in areas such as the Asbestos Wall and Moore’s Bridge. In the coldest winters, low temperatures allow the Big Kat—Kaaterskill Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in New York—to freeze up. Split into two sections, the lower pitch provides about 80 feet of climbing and the upper pitch 180 feet. Also in Kaaterskill Clove are four ravines for alpine style climbing: Hillyer, Viola, Wildcat and Buttermilk. These ravines go from the

A look down upon Stony Clove and Notch Lake.

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

An Ice Climbing Guide to the Catskills


2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

creek bed along Route 23A up to the top of the Catskill plateau where the Long Path traverses. They’re all extremely fun day outings on their own, but you can also up the ante and link up two or more for a real workout. Platte Clove Platte Clove also boasts a spectrum of climbing for beginning to the most advanced ice climbers, with the names of the locations often as intimidating as the routes themselves. Take the Devil’s Kitchen or the Black Chasm for instance. These two areas are abundant in steep to overhanging ice and mixed routes— some at the top of the game in difficulty. And there’s still the possibility for new routes to be added by a climber with the eye and skill to back it up. You can also visit the Dark Side, explore ravines such as Platte Clove, Plattekill Mountain Gully and Covert Actions, or get a great cardio workout at Platte Clove High Cliff. The latter has the longest and steepest approach in the area, but it rewards with a fun, moderate first pitch to access the upper ledge, which then plays host to six fantastic lines and incredible views of the Hudson River and West Saugerties. Stony Clove Stony Clove, on the high edges of Route 214, is where ice usually forms the earliest in the season, particularly on the Little Black Dike. It also offers routes for all ability levels. In addition to the infamous Playground, there are dozens more routes located on both the east and west sides of the Clove to keep you busy all winter.

Ice climbing in the Catskills is located throughout New York’s middle Hudson Valley, from areas near Phoenicia in Ulster County to areas around Hunter in Greene County. All areas are approximately 120 miles north of NYC, making them an easy day trip or weekend adventure. Have fun and see you on the ice. ♥ Marty Molitoris is the founder and director of Alpine Endeavors, an AMGA accredited guide service based in the Shawangunk and Catskill mountains. He is also the author of the book An Ice Climber’s Guide to the Catskill Mountains and the only current exam-certified rock and alpine guide residing and operating in New York State.

An Ice Climbing Checklist 1

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4 5

6

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 eep Notch, the Route 28 D Corridor and Beyond For even more ice, check out Deep Notch on Route 42, as well as a few areas along the Route 28 Corridor and just south of the Catskills in New York’s rock climbing mecca, the Gunks.

48 49

Vic Benes and Andrew Sinclair descending into the Black Chasm. Adrian Garate enjoying the seclusion of Viola Ravine.

What to Wear

Soft-shell jacket and pants, like the Dimensions Jacket and Mixed Guide Pants Light fleece top, like the R1® Hoody Wicking baselayers, like Merino 2 boxers, bottoms and a crew or zip-neck top Beanie hat Climbing gloves. They should be waterproof with padded knuckles and leather palms and fingers Gaiters, if there’s a fair amount of snow

3

4

1

2

Before the Ascent

To minimize perspiration, don’t overdress while traveling Wear different footwear and socks on the drive to the climbing area, then change into your winter socks and climbing boots. Feet perspire abundantly, and wearing climbing boots earlier than needed increases moisture buildup that can leave your feet prematurely cold

50

3

4 5

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Stay away from caffeine and caffeinated drinks Make sure you’ve left a plan of your intended location and activities with a friend or family member

What to Have in Your Pack

Water in ‘bottle parkas’ to keep it from freezing. Putting them in your pack upside down will prevent lids from freezing on wicked cold days Extra snacks like nuts and bars. The cold burns, and thus requires, more calories Belay parka, like the DAS Parka, to go over everything and keep you warm while you’re belaying or standing around Extra gloves Headlamp and extra batteries. In the winter, it gets dark early Emergency blanket Map Cell phone or radio First-aid kit

During the annual Catskill Ice Climbing Festival, Alpine Endeavors guide Joe Vitti goes to work on Bridge Work in the Black Chasm.


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2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

The Painted World of Brian Willmont

ON ART AND LAWLESSNESS

by Ya s h a Wa l l i n

54

Artist Brian Willmont’s work embodies the tension between the organic and the manufactured, between the urban and the natural. That’s also the story we aim to tell with this publication, so we asked him to lend his images to the narrative and you’ll see his work throughout. Here, we asked the Brooklyn-based painter to elaborate on city living, his process and the artist-run gallery he founded in Greenpoint.


L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

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L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

y w

You spent a year or so living in New Mexico. Now that you’re in New York, how has the transition from the desert to city life been?

b w

I’m from Boston and only lived in New

Mexico for a year and a half, so the city is where my familiarity lies. That said, I dove deep into New Mexico. I love how magical it is, how lawless it is, how ambiguous and unstable the nature of reality feels. In New

58

York, no one tells you to watch out for witches when traveling to certain areas. y w

Several generations of your family have lived in New Mexico. Did you feel it was your ‘home’ in a different way than NYC feels?

bw

I don’t know—I feel different every

few hours. This place does make me feel a bit crazy, but I feed off the chaos as well. y w

Your work is primarily abstract, yet how calculated are you when you begin a new piece?

for me. It’s breathtaking there, and I still feel

bw

Overall, I like to have a good idea of

nostalgia for it. I’ve formed a certain mythol-

where I’m going. But plans can always go out

ogy around the place. But I’m really anchored

the window once something is begun, and

to New York right now for a lot of reasons,

process and experience lead the way.

and at the moment it would be hard to live

y w

Can you talk a little bit about the Greenpoint Terminal Gallery?

Your earlier work was grounded in a Western organic and mystic style. Now it’s become more graphic and geometric. There’s a tension between organized and structured and utter chaos. Was that a result of moving to an urban area?

bw

I started the gallery two years ago in

I think I needed to make calmer, more

like a community, and it brings really good

bw

Both places offer different benefits.

New Mexico was more of a spiritual home

anywhere else. y w

b w

my old studiomate’s space after he moved out. After another studiomate moved, I doubled the size of the gallery. It’s been a really organic experience that has worked out really well. I’ve shown a lot of friends and connected with new friends. The space definitely feels

introspective, meditative work—which is also

people together.

hyper, frenzied and on the brink of shatter.

y w

Can you make a living being a creative in New York?

bw

You’ve gotta be creative to make a

I think it mirrors my mental state as much as my environment. y w

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living in New York. ♥

Aside from your work changing, how have you personally changed since you’ve taken on a new landscape?

Brian Willmont, Untitled, 2014. Enamel on Canvas, 24×18" Brian Willmont, Untitled, 2014. Pen on Paper, 28×22" Brian Willmont, Untitled, 2013. Gouache with spray paint, insulation foil and paper, 31×31" Brian Willmont, Untitled, 2012. Gouache on Paper, 11×15"

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Brian Willmont, Untitled, 2013. Gouache on Paper, 28×22" Brian Willmont, Untitled, 2014. Enamel on paper, mounted to mirrored Mylar and panel, 27½×21½" Brian Willmont, Untitled, 2013. Gouache with spray paint, insulation foil and paper, 31×31"


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Animal Photographer and Environmentalist Julie Larsen Maher

11 by Ya s h a Wa l l i n / p h o to s by J u l i e L a r s e n M a h e r

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WILD IN NYC Julie Larsen Maher can tell you all about the collared lemur that hops from tree to tree in the Bronx, or the Amazonian horned frog that lays up to 1,000 eggs at a time. It’s all in a day’s work. Larsen is staff photographer for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a nonprofit committed to conserving animals and wild places around the globe. The WCS also runs five locations at home: the Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, the New York Aquarium, the Queens Zoo and the Prospect Park Zoo. We met Julie over ten years ago in one of our stores. She had learned about Patagonia’s policy of giving away previously worn or damaged items to local nonprofits, and had an idea to fix them up for use in the field by her colleagues. So she set up a makeshift repair center in her basement and has been bringing repurposed items to wildlife researchers and communities around the world ever since. Here, we catch up with Maher to talk about all the good work she does.


How did your interest in photography develop?

jlm

At the WCS photos are our visual

environmental developments that you’re tracking? j lm

One species that is front and center

voice. A truly moving photo tells a story.

for the WCS is elephants. They’re in trouble,

From my art direction days before I became

with 96 killed every day in Africa. The WCS

WCS staff photographer, I’ve always known

and its partners aim to stop the killing, stop

the value of good photos. Now I get to take

the trafficking and stop the demand. ¶ I had

those photos and write about them. I work

a recent assignment for this movement that

with our talented zoo and field staff in New

was a mammoth one: Go to Africa and pho-

York, and also at some of our 500 sites in 60

tograph African elephants. Entire families

nations around the world. I couldn’t do my

are being slaughtered for their ivory, and the

job without the keepers, curators and conser-

global appetite to own trinkets carved from

vationists that share their wildlife wisdom

elephant tusks has dealt a crushing blow to

with me. Their stories are what inspire me.

their numbers in the forests and savannahs. I

You’re the first woman to be appointed staff photographer for the WCS. What does that mean for you personally?

took photos of elephants that show their lives

Being a photographer for the WCS is a

y w

It’s amazing that your photographs have the power to raise awareness around an issue like this. What can we as individuals do to combat our effect on animal and wildlife populations?

phers in 120 years of the organization. Each

j l m

Volunteer with environmental groups.

of us worked at the WCS for a long time, and

Take action by writing to politicians. And

in various positions, before becoming staff

you can stay up-to-date by reading current

photographer.

information on the WCS’s digital programs.

y w

j l m

together—photos I hope will inspire people to save 96 elephants every day instead.

privilege every day. I get to document the history of the WCS—the wildlife and activities that surround it—in New York and around the world. There have only been six photogra-

y w

How do you connect with animals? Is it something that’s intuitive and in each of us, or is it something you’ve learned by being around them often?

y w

Closer to home, how have you seen animal habitat change in New York since you’ve been working in the field?

j l m

Humpback whales are a good exam-

jlm

I connect with animals through re-

ple. Their return is a positive outcome of

spect for them, and respect for those that care

people caring about the environment. The

for and conserve them. Whether I’m in the

whales have returned to New York Bight

zoos and aquarium, or out in the field, I try

again now that they can find good food. The

to practice patience and understanding for

menhaden fish have returned in numbers

how they live. I spend a lot of time observing animal behavior, and I hope my photographs show wildlife in its best light while portraying the surrounding conservation issues that affect their world. y w

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On your blog you talk about whales coming back to NYC as a result of environmental work done by the community in the ’70s, which is great news. Are there any other Snow are monkeys among the more than 130 species represented at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo. Slaughtered for their ivory at the rate

60 of 96 a day, African elephants are in trouble. The WCS is working to protect those that remain, and the group has launched a global movement to stop the killing and stop the demand.

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y w


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that had been confiscated by the Fish and

before, likely due to the improvement of local

Wildlife Service before it was pulverized. The

water quality. Harbor seals are back, too.

ivory was lined up on pallets that seemed

It’s surprising that you can go whale watching in urban NYC. What else would surprise people about New York’s wildlife habitat?

to go on for a mile. I took pictures to show

We have a great conservation program

outnumbered large ones. I knew they once

in the Adirondacks. WCS conservationists

belonged to the youngest elephants. Their

there are studying the impacts of develop-

ivory was all that remained to be taken.

ment as they work within the mixed-use dis-

y w

What can we as humans learn from animals?

to create a balance between environmental

j lm

We can learn to respect them—and

quality and community wellbeing.

where and how they live—so they’re here for

y w

j l m

the world what they should covet no more. I crawled along the elephant graveyard, deeply saddened to see that small tusks completely

tricts of public and private lands. They hope

y w

j lm

What do you say to people who don’t want to visit the zoos because of animal rights issues?

future generations. y w

How did your involvement with Patagonia come about?

Many people have a misconception

j l m

Patagonia and I have been partners

about zoos, but the truth is that accredited

for over 10 years. The company’s strong

zoos have evolved to become a voice of con-

beliefs about the environment led them to

servation. The animals are well cared for,

the WCS, and to me, with their program to

and in many cases the knowledge gained

donate previously used products in need of

by working with these animals informs the

repair. Two New York stores, and now oth-

conservation work in the field. More than

ers, donate to us. My basement is the repair

180 million people visit zoos and aquariums

center—there are boxes full of parts, indus-

each year and are inspired by the connec-

trial sewing machines, patches and more.

tion they have from their encounters with

I’ve repaired thousands of pieces, including

animals. People don’t want to save what

jackets, pants, waders, backpacks and rolling

they don’t have an emotional attachment

bags, that go to those directly involved in

to. Zoos and aquariums not only make that

our conservation efforts. It’s a great program

connection between people and wildlife, they

that has benefited us hugely. I take the gear

serve as inspiration for the next generation

with me to give out in the field, as well as

of conservationists and are a major source

distribute it from my office. It’s in a room

of funding for on-the-ground conservation

called Julie’s Gear Boutique. From keepers

work around the world.

to gorilla trackers, we live in it. ♥

y w

Are there any experiences from working with animals for so long that have stuck with you?

jlw

Recently, the United States destroyed

its six-ton stock of confiscated elephant ivory, crushing it to dust to send a message that the nation won’t tolerate wildlife crime. My assignment was to photograph the stockpile

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Toco toucans, native to South America, share a grape in the World of Birds at the Bronx Zoo. The Bronx Zoo’s Aquatic Bird House and Sea Bird Aviary is home to a number of birds including penguins, cormorants, and Inca terns. Snow leopards are on exhibit at the Bronx Zoo and the Central Park Zoo. There have been more than 70 born at the Bronx Zoo since 1903. A humpback whale breaches through a bait ball in New York

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Bight, within sight of the sandy shores of New Jersey and New York. The Bronx Zoo’s Congo Gorilla Forest has raised more than $12.5 million for conservation programs in Africa since opening in 1999. Surinam horned frogs are from South America and can lay up to 1,000 eggs in a clutch. This species is on exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in the World of Reptiles.

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that local fishermen say they’ve never seen


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EAT OR BE EATEN

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by Pa u l G r e e n b e r g i l l u s tra ti o n by E m i l y A n d e r s o n

Bluefish eat everything. They keep on eating everything their whole lives. Then at some point something eats them. Getting a child involved in this drama is how you teach a kid to fish in New York’s saltwater, which is what I resolved to do last summer. Word had come in that schools of juvenile bluefish, known as ‘snappers,’ were just reaching Reynolds Channel, a narrow strip of water running between Long Beach and the mainland portion of Long Island. I put my five-year-old son Luke in the back seat of my beat-up Honda Civic and next to him put his friend, a slightly older and more experienced boy named Felix. As various complaints came from the backseat over the length of time it was taking to drive from Manhattan to Magnolia Pier, I considered how long it had taken the snappers. Bluefish begin their lives off North Carolina where they hatch in immense numbers in two separate spawning events—a million eggs per female is about the average in either the spring or summer spawn. For 20 days the larvae bounce around the edge of the continental shelf, feeding on copepods and other microscopic creatures. In turn, they end up being fed upon by pretty much anything that’s just a little bit bigger than they are. After a good chunk of the original millions have been eaten, the survivors begin the process of ‘recruitment,’ as fishery biologists call it—the assumption of size and physical characteristics that make bluefish pur-

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

Fishing Snappers in New York State


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suable by humans. Their eyes turn cat-eye yellow. Their sides grow sleek and silver, and their backs blue-green. Soon they’re riding the Gulf Stream past the Slope Sea, all along the way eating, all along the way getting eaten. When they finally slip into New York estuaries in mid-July they’re ready, actually desperate, to put on as much size and weight as possible so as not to be eaten themselves. This is the precise moment children like my son and his friend Felix come upon them. We arrived at Magnolia in time for the very snapper-y last three hours of the flood tide. And this iconic snapper pier with its nice wood planking and sturdy rail was feeling fishy. Rigging Luke’s and Felix’s poles up was easy. One of the beauties of snapper fishing is its Huck Finn simplicity. A small hook baited with a small fish, usually a spearing or sand eel, is all that’s needed. To spice things up, the pursuer of snappers usually adds a bobber—a little colored plastic float affixed to the line 20 or 30 inches above the bait. The snapper is attracted by the flash of the bait fish as it tumbles down the water column. The kid with the pole is in turn attracted by the twitch of the bobber when the snapper tries to drag it underwater. Yet, as simple as it sounds, snapper fishing has a tricky you’ll-know-itwhen-you-got-it aspect. Pull too soon after the snapper’s strike and you’ll end up with half a piece of bait. Too late and you get an empty hook. Felix—the older, more experienced child—got the wrist snap just right and soon boom, boom, boom, three snappers were in the pail. Tears ensued. It wasn’t fair, my son insisted. He was terrible at snapper fishing. He was the worst snapper fisherman ever. But as his wet tears dried on my shoulder I saw out of the corner of my eye his bobber plunge and I pulled back on the pole. Luke reeled in successfully and another fisherman was recruited. By the end of the afternoon the final score was six to two, far short of our legal limit of 10 per person. They ranged in size from a whopping nine inches to a skimpy four. While bluefish bag limits are now the norm in most states, no regulator has had the guts to establish a size limit. A few years back, state fishery officers contemplated an action but there was such an uproar from tackle shop dealers, children and seniors—the primary beneficiaries of the snapper run—that they backed off. There are also biological justifications for the lack of a minimum size. First, bluefish stocks are generally considered in good shape. Second, as Mark Terceiro of the National Marine Fisheries Service wrote me, “bluefish grow so fast during the first few years of life and are vulnerable to the inshore recreational fishery for just a few months in the summer and fall that a size limit doesn’t seem to affect overall yield.” In other words, get ’em while you can. They’ll be gone tomorrow. Once we’d brought our catch home, I had to decide on a cooking approach. Snappers, unlike mature bluefish, have good but not overwhelming oil content and are something of a switch hitter in the pan. They can be simply breaded and fried like a white-fleshed fish, or they can be accented


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Paul Greenberg is the author of the James Beard Award winning New York Times bestseller Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, and American Catch, about how we lost and might regain local American seafood. He’s a regular contributor to The New York Times and has written for National Geographic Magazine, GQ, The Times (of London), and Vogue.

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A native of the UK, Emily Anderson moved to NYC a decade ago. She’s since made an award-winning career out of telling people’s stories in a variety of mediums—like the illustration on the previous spread. She’s the co-founder of The Usual

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and a director and creative director for OgilvyEntertainment. Felix Barman with his catch on the Magnolia Pier. Photo: Paul Greenberg

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

with more oil and brought into the realm of a fresh sardine. Since some of our catch was genuinely sardine-like in size, I chose a favorite Genoese sardine recipe by Marcella Hazan. A little while later our snappers, which had crossed the continental shelf and traversed 800 miles of open water while evading fluke, striped bass, weakfish and hundreds of other predators, were finally eaten. As for the snappers that had escaped us back at the Magnolia Pier, they would go through another transformation, gaining another three to five inches before departing again for the continental shelf in October. A year later they would reach their full size, 20 or 30 inches and five or even 10 pounds. At that size, they would find a whole new range of things to eat: Mackerel, menhaden and entire squid swallowed in a gulp. But they would in turn be feasted upon by giant tuna, swordfish and especially mako sharks, whose diet is 75% bluefish. The recent decline of the mako from overfishing and bycatch in the tuna fishery may actually be one reason the bluefish stock is in such good shape. It’s a fish-eat-fish world out there in the big blue ocean. Luckily for us, for a brief few months, we and our children get to step in between the links of the marine food chain and take a few bites for our ourselves. ♥


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The Surreal City (Capturing the Magic of Manhattan and Beyond) — Zak Bush

From midday temper tantrums to the late-night comedown, photographer Zak Bush knows Manhattan’s many mood swings better than most. Rooted in its epicenter, SoHo, the Nova Scotia native explores the city as a medium on a daily basis. We asked him to share some insight into what he’s uncovered.


New York’s Creative Community: Part of the reason New York is so great is that, especially in the creative community, the competition lifts everyone up. The quality of work ends up being amazing for photographers, designers and artists. New York vs. Nova Scotia: New York is the place where commerce happens, and that’s seriously ingrained in the culture. There are people who have been here forever who really represent that. They’re driven—always working hard and looking to the next big thing. Then there are transplants like me who jump into the stream and try to swim as fast as everybody else. Sensory Overload: It’s nice when you find your places where you can get away. That might mean going over to Hudson River Park for a run, or when I lived in Brooklyn I used to go to Prospect Park for bike rides. Also having your neighborhood spots helps. In SoHo, if I go past Saturdays or into The Smile or the little corner bar I usually go to, I run into the same community of people. That makes the sensory overload—all the people you don’t know, and all the cars and craziness—seem a little less overwhelming. Street Photography: I started taking more street photos recently. I transitioned into that with some of the other pictures you see here, telephoto from super high perspectives looking down. It’s like this voyeur thing. That was almost my way of taking what I understood from shooting photos of surfing and applying that same concept to taking pictures in the city. What Makes a Great Photographer: What separates a lot of really great photographers from the ones that aren’t is how consistency comes into their body of work. It comes from not necessarily having preconceived ideas of what you’re going to do, but rather ideas of how you as an individual take pictures. That way you’re not just walking around snapping whatever jumps in front of your face. You need to know your framing, lighting, what equipment you’re choosing to hold in your hand, and so forth in the anticipation of opportunities coming towards you. Manhattan’s Mood Swings: It’s amazing how different it can be from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon and then back to 10 at night. In the morning, when you’re walking in SoHo or NoLIta it’s actually a quiet, serene place, because none of the shops are open yet and there are no tourists. By 3 in the afternoon, especially on a weekend, it’s hard to walk down the sidewalks

because there are so many people. That changes again in the evening, when it’s still crowded, but it’s not necessarily the tourists anymore, it’s the after-work crowd who live in the area. The way they interact with each other is completely different than the afternoon vibe, where it’s chaos and confusion with people bumping into each other, people standing in the middle of the sidewalk and people walking up the stairs in the subway and stopping at the top. The East Coast Surf Community: Surfing is a bonding factor for a lot of people, especially in the city. People who live here and surf connect with each other quite well. They help each other. Even if what you’re working on has nothing to do with surfing at all— commercial photography, for instance— just knowing people in that industry helps a huge amount. Surfing as a Priority: I knew that with moving to the city surfing wasn’t going to necessarily fall out of my focus or day-to-day, but it had to take a secondary place. You don’t have to let go of it completely, but your relationship with it is just a bit different. I spent a huge amount of my life where nothing was more important for me than going surfing. Part of moving here was the realization that, as important as surfing is for me, it’s not the only thing in life. Being able to find a healthy and balanced relationship with that is the most important thing—where work and life are just as important as making sure you’re at the right spot with the right swell, wind and tide.


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Why Patagonia SoHo Employees Scaled Coney Island to Save the Amazon

RAINFOREST RELIEF

14 by Ya s h a Wa l l i n

“I remember looking out from our tiny platform on top of the structure as the sun rose and seeing the pinkhued skies with the outline of Manhattan in the distance. I knew there was no going back at that moment.” — AP In 1998 the Yankees swept their 24th World Series, Vice President Al Gore symbolically signed the Kyoto Protocol and two Stanford Ph.D. candidates established a little company called Google. It was also the year former Patagonia SoHo employees Aaron Petz and Teal Akeret, along with three other young activists, scaled the 250foot Parachute Jump tower in Coney Island. Their goal? To hang a banner that read “NYC Parks Dept. Stop Killing Rainforest for Boardwalks & Benches.” It would go down as a highly effective grassroots operation to speak out for the Brazilian rainforest. Their “daredevil stunt,” as local newspapers called it, was a reaction to the Parks Department’s proposal to use hardwood from the Amazon to build city benches, boardwalks and more. The organization Rainforest Relief, led by Tim Keating, argued that other materials could and should be used instead of pillaging a precious ecosystem. They wanted New York and the world to know what was going on. Heading out early on a humid August day, the group began their historic ascent. They were equipped only with a small rack of carabiners, nylon slings, a pair of ascenders and a pulley to hoist up the impressive 125-foot banner. Passers-by and SoHo store colleagues including Elizabeth Ruiz (see p.105)—and, eventually, the police—watched on.

70-2 Archival newspaper clippings courtesy of Aaron Petz. The 125-foot banner seen to the right was sewn together in Reno, where Patagonia had a surplus of scraps from raincoat production. It was then sent to New York, where a crew decamped on an Upper West Side roof to paint the words.


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“I was very focused on the present task, like I would be leading a route on a granite wall in Yosemite,” Petz recalls over the phone from where he now lives, near Calistoga, California. “I remember looking out from our tiny platform on top of the structure as the sun rose and seeing the pink-hued skies with the outline of Manhattan in the distance. I knew there was no going back at that moment.” For Petz, who had spent time in Brazil and was an avid climber, it was a no-brainer to take action on the issue. “The cause was one of the significant environmental issues of the latter part of the 20th century,” he remembers. “I saw huge areas of forest that had been cleared a generation ago for farmland in the state of Paraná, where my Brazilian relatives lived and farmed. All the biodiversity that would be lost was a concern. The Amazon rainforest is the lungs of the planet, absorbing vast amounts of the greenhouse gas CO2.” Several hours into the disruption, the police had enough and went up after the protesters. The small crew was forced to come down and take the banner with them, but their achievements were lasting—the Parks Department eventually sought alternative materials for building. “The action was worth it if ultimately it persuaded the city to change paths,” Petz reflects. “It was successful because it achieved all our goals: No one was injured and we received a lot of press with the message we wanted to get out to the people of New York.” Later, when their case went to court, the Rainforest Relief members got off with a slap on the wrist. It may have had to do with the fortuitous fact that the judge recognized a couple of them from the Patagonia store where she picked up her CSA box every month. Or perhaps she was sympathetic to being so moved by a cause that there was no choice but to take action. ♥

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Employees at our Reno distribution center cutting, sewing and rolling the bright yellow banner to be shipped to NYC. Photos: Ron Hunter


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Mr. Mort’s Patagonia Street Style

spotted in soho 15 by Ya s h a Wa l l i n / p h o to s by M r. M o r t

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Before the word ‘blogger’ even entered the collective vernacular, Mordechai Rubinstein was pounding the pavement in SoHo, photographing the city’s best-dressed men for his street style site, Mistermort.com. Along the way, he developed a sartorial affinity for Patagonia and has been a regular fixture in our orbit for as long as we’ve had stores in NYC. We asked Mister Mort—who has worked for everyone from Men’s Vogue to Marc Jacobs—to share some of his favorite New York fashion moments.


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This is a photographer named Raphael. There’s something so cool about guys riding their bikes in Baggies™. It’s a swimming trunk, and he’s going to work. He’s in a plaid shirt with Baggies™, so cool—but he’s not in Southern California, he’s in NYC. They’re twins, they’ve lived together their entire lives, and I’m engaged to one of them. They inspire me to no end. They both work in fashion in completely different capacities. This was after work, at like 6:30 p.m. I love these tiles outside the library. It’s rad to see a suit-and-tie guy in a Patagonia cap. I had to chat with this fella, a real estate agent who I found out lives and breathes surfing and is in the water every weekend and often during the work week. I was walking at Prince and Mott and saw that mesh hat. I love that you can’t tell if it’s vintage or new—very rarely does a company do that, where you can’t tell the difference. These green Baggies™ here are a Patagonia classic. The combo with the windbreaker is right on par. This is Van. I met him outside of his dad’s establishment, Fanelli’s. It’s kind of cool that he’s just casually hanging out at a bar in a mixed-pattern fleece that I only wish came in an adult size. He’s been living in SoHo for 25 years, but he was from the UK originally. He was coming out of the Apple store, and I did one of my things where I waited and waited. He’s so New York, with the bike, helmet and fleece. You don’t know if he’s a product designer at Apple or a retired artist. He had the best SoHo/ British accent. That’s a handball court and my friend McDonald. I love that fleece hat.

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This is DL Tashjian and his dad. He lives uptown. I wanted to photograph DL with his father, so I asked him to come down. The name of his sailboat is embroidered on his jacket. The coolest part is that the embroidery ties back to the inside of the jacket. Who makes a men’s fleece jacket where the inside is turquoise and pink? That’s pretty f-ing cool. He used to work for Patagonia, but now works at a climbing gym. After talking to him for only a few minuets I was ready to join, and he wasn’t even trying! Kevin was an employee at the Patagonia SoHo store and I would go in there every day on my lunch break. I was never a climbing or outdoors guy, but I loved the way I’d see Patagonia mixed with all the high fashion of SoHo. Kevin was so cool and he never gave me attitude. The jacket is a one of a kind Patagonia piece, but he doesn’t wear it too fashion. The clothes aren’t talking for him. That’s my friend Jahmad. He’s from Southern California, and couldn’t believe that people were wearing Retro-X™’s and had his dad send them immediately. I love the mix of the fleece and the overalls—workwear, but in a cuddly, friendly way. I think that’s a prayer center almost in Chinatown. Abby’s fleece is made in Jamaica. It’s one of her prized pieces that she’s had for a long time. I think she’s a former Patagonia employee, or at least is a friend of the company. I just love a fella in a silk polka dot ascot. The Borsalino five-panel cap, paired with a Patagonia jacket, is a bonus. He was a tourist from Italy.


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Worn Wear Specialist Alexis Fournier’s Goal to Recycle the World

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BETTER THAN NEW by D a n i e l l e Eg g e

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Alexis Fournier has set up shop as resident repairwoman on the top floor of Patagonia SoHo at 72 Greene Street. Her goal is to make sure that before you buy any new products, you repair the ones you already own. As part of the Worn Wear program, Fournier is one of dozens of employees around the country who give new life to gear by fixing almost any wear and tear imaginable. Over the hum of a sewing machine, we sat down with her to hear the stories behind the many garments she’s saved.


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de

Tell me a little about your background as a seamstress and repair master.

a f

I was entirely unaware of Patagonia’s

repair program until I started working at

I was pursuing a degree in Fashion

the SoHo store as a sales associate. It was a

Design at Parsons and needed a lot of dif-

dream come true—and also a whirlwind of

ferent supplies for our class projects. I was

timing, opportunity and happenstance—

broke and living in New York City, where

that landed me in my current role as the in-

any monetary savings went to, well, the en-

house repair technician. It all started when

tertainments of being in the city. I had fear-

I began bringing my personal sewing ma-

less resourcefulness on my side, however,

chine into the basement of the old Wooster

and started digging through the city’s trash

Street location.

piles, which are often filled with treasures.

de

What inspires you about repairing clothing and gear?

a f

First and foremost, saving garments

af

Thus began my hoarding of materials and recycling them into new objects. de

Wow. Fashion design, huh?

from the landfill. But that’s not what gets me

af

Actually, I dropped out of that pro-

through the day—it’s the constant challenge

gram and found the Integrated Design cur-

each garment presents. Our most common

riculum. I started focusing on repurposing

repair is replacing a zipper line, but there’s

garments, and in my studies I realized how

a lot of stuff we get that doesn’t necessarily

much clothing gets dumped in landfills every

fall under what could be called a standard

year. I took a personal vow to only use recy-

repair. So there’s a complex level of problem

cled materials in my creative endeavors—and

solving involved in each garment, and you

if raw materials were necessary, I’d find the

have to be creative because we aren’t dealing

most sustainable options. My goal is to re-

with clearcut patterns most of the time. For

cycle the world.

instance, we might have to patch a tear in

de

88 89

an inconvenient spot or replace a piece of

Did you start working at Patagonia because of the repair philosophy? Repair supplies. Photo: Thomas Smith Another happy camper with a better than new jacket. Photo: Donnie Hedden

hardware on worn and stretched-out fabric. 90

The Worn Wear repair station shares 72 Greene St.’s top floor with a well-stocked library and a community space for all. Photo: Thomas Smith


2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

de

What’s your favorite repair to do?

to my “professional design intent,” which was

af

The really shredded, challenging

the first time I’d heard myself referred to as a

ones. When I look at it and go “Holy cow,

professional. He liked the color red, so I just

what happened?” and the customer is not

went for it. He was extremely happy.

only stoked to tell me exactly what happened,

de

This SoHo Worn Wear Repair Station is brand new. What about its future are you excited for, or anxious about?

most mundane repairs are made exciting

a f

I’m a customer service representative

by our patrons’ excitement. Also, any little

at heart, so getting our customers excited

change or color customization that they de-

about repair and showing them how their

cide to implement makes me giddy.

choice is helping build a better future is pretty

but also eternally grateful that they’re going to get it back in good condition. But even the

de

Do you have a favorite repair story?

much a dream come true. But I’m anxious

a f

There was a bright yellow Torrentshell

about pioneering this space. Nothing like

that was totally delaminated. The customer

this exists in the company right now, so we

only wanted his busted hook replaced, but

want to accurately manage customer expec-

I wanted to fix the whole thing. We didn’t

tations, get everyone excited about the local

have any yellow [material] on hand, so I gave

repair option and maintain epic Patagonia

him a call and he said he was “cool” with

customer service—all while keeping up top-

whatever we did have. He said he was open

notch repairs. ♥

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The famous Worn Wear truck, built for Patagonia by Jay Nelson. The truck recently toured across America, offering repairs to all who desired. Photo: Donnie Hedden

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The Torrentshell (before and after), with its new laminated panels, repaired by Alexis. Photo: Alexis Fournier The Worn Wear truck and crew in action. Patches on top of patches, on top of… Photo: Donnie Hedden


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93

94, 95

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95

96

97

96

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With offering repairs comes the promise of unearthing classic, decades-old product, like this fleece here. Photo: Donnie Hedden Alexis keeping one garment out of the landfill at a time. Photo: Thomas Smith Who needs only one color on their Down Sweater anyway? Photo: Donnie Hedden

Fred White is a Patagonia Meatpacking store employee who lives in that orange beanie. He was recently was found painting on folks’ old Patagonia garments. If you’re looking to soup up your black Nano Puff, he’s the guy. Photo: Donnie Hedden


2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

Behind the Scenes with Patagonia Store Employees

FIELD NOTES

17

by Ya s h a Wa l l i n

98

From heartily hugging customers to working as grassroots activists, Patagonia employees are involved in it all. In fact, there would be no “20 Years of Patagonia in New York City” if it weren’t for the company’s staff. They’re the ones in the trenches every day—in the shipping room, on the floor, doing repair work or launching environmental initiatives. Here, we gain a little insight about what the past two decades of Patagonia in New York have looked like for our employees who have been here the longest, Elizabeth Ruiz and Jules Isaac. We also learn more about the Patagonia New York environmental programs that are getting extra attention these days, thanks to Boston transplants Betsy Pantazelos and Liz O’Donnell. 98

The original crew at Chouinard Equipment Co. Little did they know that hundreds of “crews” would follow, all around the world. Photo: Patagonia Archives

99 Photo: Joey Dwyer 100 Photo: Thomas Smith


Most Rewarding Part of the Job:

Getting to know the customers. They come back, they trust you and after a while they listen to what you say. Also getting customers from all parts of the world and making connections with them. I honestly believe that if I were working in any other retail place, it would never be like this. One of the things I tell new staff is that this isn’t a regular retail store. You have to bring your A game.

99 Name: Elizabeth Ruiz Role: Retail Specialist From: Manhattan Years at Patagonia: 16 Store: SoHo The Overall SoHo Store Vibe:

Everybody came from everywhere else. It was people who came to New York looking for a place where they could still feel like they had a little bit of back home and a connection to the outdoors.

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Favorite Outdoor Activities:

Hiking and going to the beach, but it takes a little while to get there on the train. I’m one of those true New Yorkers—I don’t have a license. I guess my eco-footprint is less because I’m not driving. Best Thing About the New Greene St. Store:

The community space. I’m planning to teach yoga here in the next few days. Being here I have an opportunity to get more of the community involved and into the space. Architectural Details of the Greene St. Store:

All the wood pieces are reclaimed. Our folding tables come from wood from the old Domino Sugar factory. SoHo Back in the Day:

It was a lot of lofts and big spaces. There were lots of flea markets, and there were

Name: Liz O’Donnell Role: District Environmental Coordinator From: Boston Years at Patagonia: 4 (One month in current role.) Store: SoHo On Her New Role as NYC District Environmental Coordinator:

Every Patagonia store has an environmental coordinator—a retail employee that takes time out to manage the environmental internship program, the grants program and the product donations. Betsy Pantazelos saw a need in New York for a position to work on all the environmental programs across the four New York stores. So I’m here to build up our presence, help structure the grants program, help

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

some factories like the sneaker factory my dad worked at.


2 0 Y R S O F PATAG O N I A I N N YC

support environmental nonprofits in the city and get the staff of all our stores engaged on the environmental front. What That Means on a Local Level:

We’ve been developing an environmental identity for each store. The Upper West Side store is community-based, so we’re working hyper-locally with a lot of the parks conservation groups. Bowery is our surf store, so that’s the marine groups, coastal groups and the harbor. Meatpacking is our climbing store, so that’s more Upstate New York, the Gunks and fracking issues—things that will impact the landscape. Then we have SoHo, which is kind of our jack-of-all-trades store.

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Who Patagonia Works With on the Environmental Front:

We always works with grassroots, action-oriented 501(c)(3)s. Patagonia is a privately held company, so we can get behind some of the direct action groups—the ones really out there in the field. What Being a Private Company Means for Grant-Giving:

We gauge how impactful the organizations are without worrying so much about if they’re controversial or what shareholders are going to think about us supporting them. It’s an amazing, authentic process where there isn’t greenwashing. The purpose of Patagonia’s environmental efforts is to support the groups that are doing the best work possible. Organizations She’s Excited About:

Surfrider, the River Project, the Van Cortlandt Park Conservatory, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. Tangible Change She’s Seen Through Patagonia Support:

Catskill Mountainkeeper was able to ban fracking in New York. That was a huge victory. They had a very strategic campaign in place and they were a big partner in a larger coalition that had a really dialed plan.

101 Photo: Elizabeth Ruiz 102 Photo: Thomas Smith

Name: Jules Isaac Role: Shipper From: St. Thomas Years at Patagonia: 17 Store: Upper West Side How It All Started:

I was walking by and saw a Help Wanted sign. I started as seasonal, and eventually they hired me in 1999. I’ve been here ever since. How It’s Lasted So Long:

I love the freedom you get as an employee to take off time whenever you want. And I’m a big fan of the environment. On Meeting Yvon Chouinard:

I met him twice. The weird thing about it was he actually remembered me. It was like 8 or 9 years apart—I met him in SoHo, and then I met him on the Upper West Side and he remembered my name. I was just like, “This guy is good.” Favorite Patagonia Item:

The Snap-T®. It was one of my first items. They gave it to me through the work wear program, where employees get three pieces of clothing if they’re full-time, which is great. Employees get to wear items so they experience them. I mean, I can’t tell you about a Nano jacket if I never actually wore it.


Favorite NYC Activities:

I’m a cyclist. My girlfriend and I have a path we take across the George Washington Bridge, then up to the Palisades. It’s about 50 miles going and coming. I’m 53, so, hey! What Coworkers Don’t Know About Him:

I collect shot glasses but I don’t really drink. Is that kind of weird?

Oldest Patagonia Gear She Owns:

It’s kind of a lame piece in the grand scheme of things, but I have a baselayer in this bright purple color called Hydrangea. I remember lusting for it in high school, and I’ve used it for absolutely everything. I think it was like a gateway drug for me. On the Environmental Internship Committee:

Patagonia will pay you your working wage to work for an environmental nonprofit, and the company will hold your job for you while you go and do that. You can do it as a fulltime employee for up to 320 hours. I went to Scotland a couple of years ago to work for the John Muir Trust, which was incredible. The environmental side of the company is of huge importance to me. NYC Environmental Causes She’s Passionate About:

102 Name: Betsy Pantazelos Role: NYC District Manager From: Boston Years at Patagonia: 9 (One year in current role.) Store: SoHo How She Ended Up Here:

I was at a crossroads and was like, “Oh my God, I can actually pursue my passion as a vocation and they don’t have to be separate things.” It just makes for a work environment where you feel implicitly understood— and isn’t that what we are all searching for in life anyway?

I haven’t had as much time in this community yet, and I think environmental passion is born out of landscapes that you love or places that you love to recreate in. So living on the Upper West Side, I would have to say river-related stuff is up there. I was just reading about Bronx River Alliance, which I think is pretty cool. We’ve got a river in the Bronx that nobody recreates in and doesn’t really know about it. So to raise awareness they did this flotilla with literally anything that you could float down the river on, like a raft, a boat or whatever, just to alert people that it’s there. Then fracking is probably the biggest issue, and there have been recent strides on that front but it’s still a bit of an uphill battle to be fought. On Patagonia and Equal Opportunities:

I think Patagonia nurtures, period. I don’t think it’s on gender lines at all. I think good ideas are supported and growing and developing people is definitely something we talk about a lot. So I’ve had the pleasure in working with tons of really talented women, but in that same vein, tons of talented men as well. ♥

L I V I N G & B R E AT H I N G

Strange Happenings:

It’s an urban legend, but when the SoHo store first opened, it had paranormal activity. I saw things. We’d come in in the morning and there were boxes thrown down in front of the bathroom. I mean, a few times. I don’t know if someone tried to trick us in the night. I’ve believed in things beyond explanation before, but…


Why We Closed Our Stores to Save the Planet

18

Gone Marching by Ya s h a Wa l l i n / p h o to s by T i m D av i s

“New York can be the world’s stage—important people come here, and important people listen to what New Yorkers have to say.” — BP

On September 21, 2014, we took to the streets to fight for Planet Earth. As part of the People’s Climate March, we joined over 300,000 concerned citizens—along with Hurricane Sandy survivors, Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, New York mayor Bill de Blasio, and environmentalist and organizer Bill McKibben—for communal actions from the Bronx down to Wall Street. The goal was to create an event so large it couldn’t be ignored, urging world leaders, who were meeting days later at the United Nations Climate Summit, to lead the charge against global warming. Simply put, it was “an invitation to change everything.” People marched not just in Manhattan, but also in cities around the world like Berlin, New Delhi and Johannesburg. The demonstration turned out to be the largest of its kind in history. As a company, we made the decision to put the planet before profit and shut down our Manhattan stores to participate. NYC District Manager Betsy Pantazelos spearheaded Patagonia’s involvement. She recalls how the seed of an idea grew into a company-wide movement: “I was coming down on the train from Boston reading Rolling Stone . They were talking about the People’s Climate March. I was running the notion through


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my mind that there had been no larger gathering of its time with regards to climate change. People were going to gather en masse to bring environmentalism and climate change closer to the forefront of the agenda, which they hadn’t been. New York can truly be the world’s stage—important people come here, and important people listen to what New Yorkers have to say. So I was talking to Patagonia’s Enviro team, and I said ‘I want all of our employees to be able to march in this. It’s an important issue for the company, and an important moment in New York, and we should be closing the stores to do this.’ It was a moment of being empowered working for this company, where I felt I was able to make a decision to prioritize environmentalism ahead of revenue. And we ended up doing just that. We had banners and had a party that morning with coffee and bagels for the non-profit groups. Our CEO, Rose Marcario, was here for it, and we took out a full-page ad saying ‘Gone Marching’ to let people know we were closing our stores and supporting the non-profits involved. It was just a little idea I had, and it blew up into a much bigger thing.”

Tim Davis has worked in Patagonia’s photo department since 1999, and he’s been senior photographer since 2006. He was raised in Southern California and attended the Brooks Institute of Photography. Tim is a good surfer and a damn good cook and bartender, and says he’s “generally slow uphill and fast downhill with other backcountry sports.”


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Thanks to all our friends and staffers who contributed to this celebration of 20 years in New York, including two trailblazers, Patagonia’s first CEO, Kris Tompkins, and our current CEO, Staten Island native Rose Marcario, for their insights into the company then and now. Thanks to long-time Gunks resident Lynn Hill for her thoughts on how free climbing has changed in the past 20 years, Marty Molitoris for his tips on the Catskills’ best ice, Paul Greenberg for teaching kids about the bluefish life cycle, and our amazing photographer friends Jeff

Johnson, Joni Sternbach, Zak Bush, Joey Dwyer, Tim Davis and Mr. Mort. Above all, thanks to their colleagues Liz O’Donnell, Betsy Pantazelos, Elizabeth Ruiz, Jules Isaac and Alexis Fournier for sharing their days with us.

Copyright 2015 Patagonia Works All photograph and artwork copyrights are held by the photographers and artists as indicated in captions. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from publisher and copyright holders. Requests should be mailed to Patagonia, Inc., 259 W. Santa Clara St., Ventura, CA 93001-2545 Yasha Wallin is an editor and writer for a range of international publications including GOOD Magazine, Guardian UK, Art in America and Interview. She is the co-founder/editorial director of the Montauk-based surf and lifestyle publication, The Usual. Yasha splits her time between New York City and Berlin, with her heart also in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was born and raised. See theusualmontauk.com. James Victore is an author, speaker, artist and firestarter, the latter of which being why we knew he’d be perfect to summarize the range of emotions we’re feeling on this 20th anniversary (22,51,69). James isn’t afraid to make big, bold statements, which he does while running his award-winning design studio, working with clients like Moët & Chandon,

Aveda, TIME Magazine, Yohji Yamamoto and more. He lives, loves and works in Brooklyn. See jamesvictore.com. Danielle Egge is Patagonia’s North America Retail Marketer. She likes to surf a lot and buy killer wetsuits with power rainbows stitched on the back and sides from Goodwill. Scott Massey is an art director born and raised in New York— not the city, but Long Island. He moved west in an attempt to merge life and work into a healthy balance, but then quickly gave it all up and fled for the hills to pursue an MFA at CalArts. See nohawk.com.

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103 Brian Willmont, Untitled, 2013. Gouache with spray paint, insulation foil and paper, 31×31"

104 The End of the Road was once a free place to park in front of Ralph Macchio’s estate. Now it’s just a staircase ready to fall. Montauk, 2008. Photo: Scott Massey


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105 This art was commissioned by Patagonia in 1995 to celebrate the opening of 101 Wooster Street, the company’s original SoHo location. Peter Noone, who was running Patagonia retail at the time, was called into HR as soon as they caught wind of the art. Apparently, they were concerned about the man in the bottom left hand corner was being mugged.“I just had to tell them,‘People get mugged every f-ing day in New York! Give me a break!’” he says. (Un)fortunately, Peter had already run the ad all over the state. HR had no chance. Illustration: Mike Rogers


Living & Breathing: 20 Years of Patagonia in New York City