If you ever visited me in Reading, I probably took you here, to one of my very favorite places in Reading (besides the Pagoda): Roadside America! Located in Shartlesville, PA, this truly amazing roadside attraction right off I-78 is a national treasure and a labor of love created by one man, Laurence Gieringer. As a kid, he and his brother ran up to Mt. Penn (where the Pagoda is) one day and looked down on the city of Reading below and thought how neat it would be to build their own tiny world. Mr. Gieringer made his first little house in the early 1900s, and he kept expanding this miniature world and its train tracks until his passing in 1963.
Virtually nothing has changed in Roadside America since then (although I do miss his little signs that said things like, "Note: Tree Blown Over by Storm" – those don't seem to be up right now). This is the sort of place that you have wonderful memories of visiting as a child, and then when you return as an adult, it is just as magical and special, maybe more so. The entire miniature world is about 7,450 sq. feet, and there is always more to see! There are also lots of buttons to push to, say, make a donkey bray or a blacksmith strike his tiny anvil. You can see a lovely profile of it on last weekend's CBS Sunday Morning.
Mr. Gieringer's granddaughter and her family run it now, and she has recently announced that Roadside America is for sale. I sure hope that a local person (or the Reading Museum or the Berks History Center) can purchase it, or failing that, the Smithsonian can! (Anyone know anybody at these places?) It is a very special place, and I hope everyone has an opportunity to visit it this summer!
THIS NIGHT is very happy to announce its second collaboration with the wonderful Whitney Museum of American Art! THIS NIGHT is very happy to announce a second collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art! Here are four styles inspired by Where We Are (on the seventh floor of the Whitney): the ones with the swan are inspired by Agnes Pelton's Star Icons; the ones with the waves are inspired by Agnes Pelton's Sea Change; the geranium ones are inspired by Charles Sheeler's Geranium); and the stripes are inspired by the shafts of light on the floor in Edward Hopper's A Woman in the Sun.
You can see all of them (and the earlier ones, which are back in stock) in person at the Whitney's shop or at its online store here.
I have always loved the moon, and after spending a year living in Japan (mostly in Kyoto) on a scholarship to study art, I returned to America with a new understanding of how we can appreciate beauty and nature wherever we are. There is an artistic tradition in Japan of depicting the moon as viewed through autumn grasses, and this is the inspiration for TSUKI (the Japanese word for "moon"). Autumn grasses weren't really on my radar before this year in Japan, but once they were, I started noticing them everywhere (and of course, would try to view the moon through them at night!). I hope these socks feel like a poem for your feet.
I really like reading long-form journalism, and there are definitely articles that stay in my mind long after reading them (chief among them, this incredibly moving and thought-provoking article in the New York Times several years ago about what it is like to be an eleven-year-old homeless child in NYC), and there are certain writers who, almost no matter the topic, write in such a precise and interesting way that I find almost anything they are writing about riveting. One of these writers is Ian Frazier, who writes for the New Yorker. He describes things so well, often with a sense of humor, and he always expresses a deep sense of empathy and appreciation for his subjects. (His writing is so distinctive that I can almost always tell it is his without reading the byline.) One of his pieces I still think about (mostly because I wish I had one!) is this one about a device he invented for removing plastic bags caught in high tree branches, another is about the return of harbor seals to NY harbor (which prompted me to take the same seal excursion he described), and another is his really interesting account of his travels in Siberia (here and here). Most recently, an article he wrote about a color he calls Statue of Liberty green fascinated me and inspired this new color for the fall socks: Liberty Green. It makes me think of both the Statue of Liberty and the colors of the Hudson River that surround it, two of my favorite things in New York.
As many of you know, THIS NIGHT socks are knit in my hometown of Reading, PA, in its last remaining sock knitting mill. If you are at all familiar with Reading, you will also know that, in addition to being the self-proclaimed Pretzel Capital of the World, its landmark is the Pagoda (not a pagoda, but The Pagoda). This is not your ordinary pagoda, though. Trimmed in red neon (now LED) lights and featuring both a chimney and fireplace, the pagoda was completed in 1908 at the top of Mt. Penn as a sort of luxury tea house. It never took off, however, and ended up being sold to the City of Reading for $1 in 1911. Now it is one of Reading's most enduring tourist attractions, offering a beautiful view of downtown Reading. (You can read more about the Pagoda's history and present here, and I just discovered that there is a Pagoda Cam, so you can even see the live view here!) I have long dreamed of making a Pagoda sock, and here it is (in S/M and M/L sizes), including the chimney! And $1/pair sold at www.this-night.com goes to the wonderful Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading!
I have always liked Halloween, and as a kid, I had a surprisingly large amount of orange-and-black clothing and accessories. My parents are also into Halloween (they answer the door in costume), and my dad's favorite color combination is orange and black, so I have been contemplating some black-and-orange socks for a while! (I was pushed over the edge when I met a customer at the American Field event in Boston who requested some for her husband, a big Flyers fan!) So fellow Halloween enthusiasts, Princeton and Oklahoma State University alumni, graduates of Mount Penn (and Antietam) and White Plains High Schools, and Flyers, SF Giants, and Orioles fans, these are for you!
THIS NIGHT is excited to have a stand this coming weekend at American Field (which is a weekend market devoted to American-made goods) at Boston's Innovation and Design Building (One Design Place). It's free and open both days from 11am to 6pm. If you're in the area, I hope you will come by and say hello! You can learn more about American Field and the other stands that will be there (which look really neat!) here.
The proximity of Father's Day has prompted me to finally write a little something up about one of my favorite shops, The Hop (aka The Sock Hop – the name has recently been adjusted to reflect that there is much more than socks there – their specialty is custom shirts!), located at 248 Elizabeth Street in NYC. Mr. Nasserbakht's father and grandfather were both custom shirtmakers (you can watch a short video talking about this here), and he has taught his sons this special skill as well. The Hop specializes in custom shirts for men and women and also has its own line of beautiful men's and women's ready-to-wear shirts (and there is a particularly pretty blue-and-white striped shirtdress I have been admiring). And they have quite a sock selection!
When the store opened back in 2010, several of my friends told me about it (knowing of my sock passion) – it is definitely the go-to place in NY for fine hosiery (NY Times reporter Jon Caramanica referred to it as the "Bergdorf Goodman of foot sheathing" :). So it was quite an honor, then, two years ago, when I showed Vince my first collection of socks, that he was interested in stocking some of them in this lovely store! They are all so nice to do business with, and the Hop is such a special family store. (And they also have an extensive record collection!) When you're in the SoHo/Little Italy area next, I highly recommend stopping by.
Happy Father's Day in advance, everyone!
Inspired by people's response to BITTERSWEET, I decided to create more botanical socks based on some paintings I had made of cherry blossoms (sakura, in Japanese) and forsythia, two of my favorite flowers. At last, here are SAKURA and FORSYTHIA! Women and men have requested floral socks in the larger size, so I'm happy to announce that I have made SAKURA in the larger size, which fits women's shoe sizes 6.5 to 14 (it will just go up higher, almost like a knee sock but not quite) and men's shoe sizes 6 to 13.
I was just home in PA, and my parents showed me the latest issue of Berks County Living, which features interviews with some local stylish guys, including Eric Savage, owner of Freedom Toyota and Freedom Hyundai, local philanthropist (he's the Chair of the Board of the Reading Olivet Boys & Girls Club, among many other charitable activities), and really nice person. I feel very honored that Eric, known for his love of lively socks, mentioned THIS NIGHT socks as being a "staple of [his] footwear"! Thank you so much, Eric!
I am so happy and honored to announce a collaboration between THIS NIGHT and the Whitney Museum of American Art on some socks!
There are three styles: SUNSET (inspired by the sun setting over the Hudson as viewed from the Whitney's terrace), FAÇADE (inspired by the museum's Renzo Piano façade), and EYES (inspired by eyes in the Whitney's permanent collection), and they are available in S/M and M/L sizes. They are available at the Whitney Museum (99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014) and at its online store.
At last, some new spring socks have arrived! In addition to the new STRIPE in navy and blue, which stealthily arrived on the scene (for men and women as well as in the women's boot/knee sock length) without any fanfare about a month ago, GRID has returned in new spring colors, including hibiscus, seafoam, blue, and pale pink (as well as in the tried-and-true navy/olive combo for men), and KYOTO is back in grey/seafoam and grey/pale pink (as well as in navy/olive for men).
Stay tuned for some new styles coming soon!
Yikes! I see I haven't written anything for the blog in a while (I do a little better with Instagram), but I will try to make up for the silence with this post on Earth Day (which really is every day, but it's nice to have a day designated to appreciate our planet and think about how we can take good care of it). My mother was an early recycler (before there was municipal recycling – she and my dad collected everything in a corner of the garage and drove an hour to recycle it once a year!), but it wasn't until after college, when I read Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, that I really started thinking about the ways things are made and the choices I make as a consumer.
It's really a very interesting book, but if you don't have time to read it, two major thoughts I took away from it are: 1.) It would be helpful if things were constructed in such a way that they could be disassembled into their discrete parts (for example, if all the different metals in a car could be separated easily, they could be reused instead of "downcycled" as less valuable scrap metal). Related to this, the ideal scenario is a closed loop in which the the materials used in the product can be reused again or biodegrade ("cradle to cradle" as opposed to "cradle to grave," which is the trajectory of most products). 2.) When designing things, instead of trying to make things "less bad" (for example, scrubbers on smokestacks), the goal should be to find a new way of designing something to create something good (which admittedly seems easier said than done).
More recently, I've been very inspired by Zero Waste Home, a blog by Bea Johnson, a French woman who now lives in Marin County with her kids and husband and produces remarkably little waste. And by remarkably little, I mean that their trash from 2016 fit into a Mason jar! Reading her old posts (she now seems pretty busy speaking and traveling and doesn't post very often anymore) really changed the way I thought. (She also wrote a book that I haven't read but that I imagine includes a lot of highlights from her blog.) Her main advice: "Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (and only in that order)." ("Rot" refers to composting.)
So in terms of THIS NIGHT, I am always trying to consider the environment when I make decisions. One of the first ones was whether or not to use plastic hooks. I was concerned that retailers would insist on them, but happily, this has not been the case. (There seems to be a nice movement toward displaying socks in little cabinets and in baskets or flat on tables.) For mailing socks, I found Eco-Shippers at Ecology Packaging that are made of recycled fibers and are 100% recyclable. (And I've been assured by the folks there that the peel-off strip is also recyclable – often these are coated with silicone and are not.) I print out my mailing labels on gummed paper from Steadfast Paper (and have to wet each one with a sponge before attaching it to the Eco-Shippers – it's a little labor-intensive, but I haven't found a better alternative), and I use biodegradable cellophane packing tape from Eco Enclose when I have a very big order and need to ship it in a box.
So this is probably way more than anyone besides my mom would like to read, but I'm really interested in this topic as you can see, and I hope you found some of this interesting, too! Happy Earth Day!
When I lived in Japan for a year, I tried adopting the traditional goal of tying up loose ends from the year before the New Year began. I still try to do this, and I am always grateful that I get a little extension with the Lunar New Year (this past Saturday)!
I am very grateful for everyone's support this past year, and especially happy to report that THIS NIGHT has donated more than $300 so far to the Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading, PA (where these socks are knit and my hometown), and will continue to donate 50 cents per pair sold on this website. Thank you, everyone!
A couple of weeks ago, something very nice happened! A regular WFMZ (Reading's local news channel) viewer, Cristen, emailed me to say that she had come across my socks online and saw that they were made in Reading and that she had written WFMZ to suggest that the anchormen might consider wearing these locally made socks. A reporter from WFMZ, Jim Vasil, wrote back to her the same day, and she put us in touch.
A week later, I boarded the Bieber bus to go to Reading, PA (my hometown and where the socks are knit), to have a little interview in the store at the GoggleWorks (a really wonderful community arts center in Reading that used to be a goggle factory – it's also the only place THIS NIGHT socks are sold in Reading).
Thank you so much, Jim and Tim (the nice cameraman) of WFMZ and Cristen!
Well, this is not exactly breaking news, but I just discovered it this morning! Colleen Monroe (who has her own line of clothing made in the US, Untucked Workwear), a contributor to Conscious Magazine, included THIS NIGHT socks in her list of 10 Sustainable Work Wardrobe Essentials for Creative Professionals. It is an honor to be on the list – thank you, Colleen! (In her post, she links to GRID in white and black, one of my favorites! :)
Now until Monday, 12/12, at midnight, SAVE 10% OFF your entire order with code JOY at checkout! (THIS NIGHT will still be donating 50 cents per pair to the wonderful Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading, PA, where these socks are made!)