Toronto/New York Trip Day 6

Day 6 T-Shirt of Choice: Thirsty for Blood Hungry for Tacos by Seibei / Guilty Pleasures by Wotto for Tilteed

NYC Neighborhoods Visited: SOHO, Nolita, Theater District, West Village, and Flatiron.

We started our day off with a late morning subway ride to SOHO for lunch at the famous Lombardi’s Pizzeria. They are renown for being America’s first pizzeria and since we had a taste of Grimaldi’s the day before, we just had to tickle our tongues with a taste of Lombardi’s. Located on the corner of Mott St. and Mulberry St., we were surprised when we saw that Lombardi’s had no line. We had surely thought that this famed pizzeria would have a line shooting out of its door, considering that we waited nearly an hour before we were able to get a seat inside of Grimaldi’s yesterday. In any case, we blew off the no line to the face that we were there just little after 30 minutes from opening. And anyway, we were both hungry for good pizza so no line was a good thing!

I’ve argued with a bunch of hardcore Lombardi’s fan about the superiority of Grimaldi’s, but with no firsthand experience of Lombardi’s slice, I was a bit biased. We ordered the same pizza as we did at Lombardi’s (pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms) but this time we also added spinach. Like Grimaldi’s you pay a bay price for either a small or a large and then pay extra for toppings of your choice.

Lombardi's Pizzeria

Lombardi's Pizzeria

So which was better, Grimaldi’s or Lombardi’s? My first thought was that they were very similar to one another. So similar that I could not choose a favorite between the two. But after a few minutes and my second slice, I had found a clear favorite. Grimaldi’s is indeed my favorite pizzeria in the state of New York. Hands down. The pepperoni had a spicier kick, the sausage was tastier and the cheese, oh my goodness the cheese at Grimaldi’s was thicker, cheesier, and there was just more of it overall. And let’s face it, more cheese is always a good thing. Plus, you’re eating a pie under the Brooklyn Bridge – that’s pretty freakin’ awesome. If you’re in New York, and have to choose between the two, I’d recommend that you cross the Brooklyn Bridge and have a taste of New York’s best, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

After Grimaldi’s, we crossed the street and had a taste of Rice to Riches, a rice pudding specialty shop. The first thing you’ll notice is the colorful and chic decor and then you’ll notice the clever and witty sayings throughout the shop poking fun at skinny people. Rice to Riches is definitely not a place for the carbohydrate conscious. Both Michelle and I ordered a small serving each, I had the Sex, Drugs, andl Rocky Road topped with mixed nuts and Michelle had the Chocolate Chip Flirt. First note, the serving sizes are huge and a small is definitely big enough for two. The pudding is very rich and is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Rice or Riches

We then walked down Stage St. and stopped by American Apparel. They were having a sidewalk sale and we were able to pick up some great items for $8 a piece. I grabbed a couple of Raglans – yay!

A quick subway ride to 9th, between 15th and 16th Streets, and we were at Chelsea Market – home of the Food Network. On the bottom floor of this large building is a market that is scattered with a variety of different restaurants and open markets. I even scored a free gingerbread cookie by checking in at One Lucky Duck on Foursquare. Have I told you how much I love Foursquare?

Apple Store at Chelsea

Once we had our fill of Chelsea Market, we explored the Chelsea area quite a bit. And then we made our way to Jon Wye’s flagship shop on 47 W 20th Street. If you read this blog on a regular basis, then you know who Jon Wye is, since I have featured him multiple times on the blog and on Co-Tee TV. Jon Wye recently opened up a brick and mortar store. The shop is actually located inside of an old church that has been transformed into a three story market and gallery known as The Limelight. Unfortunately, Jon wasn’t in – he’s busy in DC working hard on his products at his factory. I did, however, have a chance to explore this shop and was thoroughly impressed by what I saw. I’ll be posting more photos of his shop in a separate post so be sure to check back for that.

Jon Wye New York

Jon Wye New York

The Museum of Sex on 5th Avenue was our next detonation. The tickets are priced at $17 a piece, however, I was a but underwhelmed. I expected more sex. Don’t get me wrong, the museum features three floors of sex exhibitions, but none really shocked or offended me. I was expecting to be shocked and offended. Not really. They currently features five difference exhibitions, Sex Lives of Animals and Rubbers were the the ones that I found to be the most interesting. Who knew a rhino’s dick was so huge.

By this time it was about 4pm, so we decided to head back to Times Square. Before heading to our hotel we made stops at the Hershey’s store and the M&M’s store. Both were a bit meh for me and just too crowded to even browse the products. I wanted some dark chocolate Kit Kats but was not willing to stand in line for it. If you’re in New York and have to choose between the two, then I’d suggest passing on Hershey’s (the store floor is small and crowded, and you can find most of the products at your local store anyway) and instead hit up the M&M store (it’s 3 floors big and the wall of M&M’s is impressive).

After a short pit stop at our hotel to freshen up, we hit the subway once again toward West Village to pay a visit to Carlos, also known in the T-Shirt universe for his baking and lifestyle collective, Oven Fresh Dreams. Carlos has released some limited edition tees in collaboration with Nicolo Nimor of Nick Automatic and Greg Abbott. Carlos invited us to stop by the bakery that he works at, Amy’s Bread. What’s awesome about this is that I actually had this planned on my itinerary, based on some suggestions that I had read prior to his invitation. How serendipitous of him to invite us there! He hooked us up with some excellent brownies and we even chatted a bit about NYC and the food scene. Not surprisingly, Carlos is a foodie, much like myself and Michelle! Cool dude. Support his brand Oven Fresh Dreams and if you’re ever in NYC, pay a visit to Amy’s Bread to treat yourself to something special.

To West Village

Oven Fresh Dreams

Amy's Bread

The West Village area is filled with an amazing assortment of small restaurants. Carlos suggested one called Little Havana, so that’s where we planned to go. It was located right across the street from Amy’s Bread on Cornelia Street. But alas, it was closed. So what to do? Eat a New York hot dog, that’s what we did. Michelle spotted Gray’s Papaya, which she had learned about from a J-LO movie and I had heard about it on the Food Network (or was it the Travel Channel?). Needless to say, I had a few hot dogs and the flagship papaya drink. Simple hot dog, but still very good. You get a nice crunch from the encasing, which is the sign of a good hot dog.

Before heading back to the hotel we decided to stop by Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. I was a bit hesitant, because it seemed like a tourist trap to me. And for the most part, it was. I’m pretty sure that most of the museum’s artifacts were replicas. It’s okay, I still enjoyed looking at the bizarre and absurd. But at about $25 a ticket, I’d pass on it if given the chance to go again.

Ripley's Believe It or Not

Teextile: The Dark Side of Doodles

For some reason, I haven’t been paying much attention to Teextile. But that’s about to change. Teextile has been releasing some amazing tees, many of which have flown right past my radar. Starting today, I will be reviewing the weekly batch of tees at Teextile and giving my opinion as to which are my favorites! 

If you aren’t familiar with Teextile, they are a T-Shirt contest site that features a new batch of tees every week. Each tee is featured for a day and is available for $12 on the day it is featured and $15 for the rest of the week. New releases are unveiled every Monday. 

And without further ado, this weeks Teextile Favorite happens to be The Dark Side of Doodles by none other than Wotto, a personal favorite of mine. This tee is just all around wackiness and I love it! I think the design looks splendid on that white shirt. It’s the perfect shirt to wear during creative pursuits!



I’ll also rank my favorite Teextile tees in order from my 1 to 5, with 1 being my Teextile Favorite for that particular week. Feel free to debate your favorites!

My Teextile Power Rankings for June 15, 2009 to June June 19, 2009:

#1 (Favorite): The Dark Side of Doodles by wotto

The Dark Side of Doodles

#2: Carried The Sound by Rodisleyd

Carried The Sound

#3: Premium Panda by kookylove

Premium Panda

#4: Redux by spacegirl


#5:  Coalition Against Crested Apparel by latortuga.

Coalition Against Crested Apparel

Marvellous Marvin by Wotto

It probably an understatement to say that Craig “Wotto” Watkins is beloved in the  indie t-shirt scene. Wotto has had a ton of designs printed by various brands including Threadless, Fuzzy Ink, TeeFury, and Shirt.Woot just to name a few. His online portfolio shows off a humungous collection of tee designs that he had been commissioned to do. 

Now Wotto has decided to take the plunge and have one of his designs printed under his own Wotto brand and have them for sale at his Big Cartel store. The tee is called Marvellous Marvin and it’s a limited edition print and has the distinct recognition as being the first self-printed Wotto design. As with most Wotto designs, the cuteness factor of Marvellous Marvin is very high! The design is printed on an American Apparel tee and is available for $17 but you can score a 15% discount with the coupon code “friends”.

Might this be the first step away from Wotto doing designs for other brands? Is he preparing for world domination? Only time will tell…dun dun dun!

Marvellous Marvin

Sale at Bang Bang T-Shirts

Bang Bang T-Shirt found me through Twitter, so I decided to check out their store. Turns out that they have a huge sale going with all shirts going for £5.00 or about $7.53. They’ve got 34 different shirts in stock and a few caught my eye. In particular, I thought that both Oddbod (design by wotto) and Together (design by Ric Stultz) were cute, and Funny Presidents (design by Jimiyo) was a nice play on The Dark Knight. At $7.53 and free worldwide shipping, the sale is definitely worth a look! 

Oddbod by Wotto

Funny Presidents by Jimiyo

Together by Ric Stultz

Indie Tee Spotlight #10: Fuzzy Ink

Welcome to week 10 of the Indie Tee Spotlight series! I can’t believe I’ve been at this for a whopping 10 weeks now! I have to say that I appreciate all the brands and designers that have worked with me on this for the last 10 weeks and I look forward to working with more of you in the near future! 

This week I am happy to say that I am featuring one of the “funnest” and arguably the most hairy brands around, Fuzzy Ink! They recently made huge splashes with their Series Two shirts featuring the artwork of Craig Watkins aka Wotto in the tee design world. John Paul, Mike Paul and Justin Stimmel of Fuzzy Ink were kind enough to chat with me about how Fuzzy Ink was conceived, why mustaches are a requirement for Fuzzy Ink employees (maybe) and some of the highs and lows of working in the tee shirt business. 

Coty: The Fuzzy Ink brand is so interesting; it’s built around, of all things, the manly mustache! How did you come up with this concept? Where’d you get your mustache inspiration from? How long has Fuzzy Ink been in operation?

Fuzzy Ink: I wish we had a compelling story to blow you out of the water, but the formation of Fuzzy Ink can be illustrated in a few short sentences.  December of ‘07 John and I were back home in upstate NY for the Christmas holiday.  As entrepreneurs at heart, we were throwing around random get-rich-quickly schemes.  One of us mentioned just throwing a bunch of mustaches on random objects for enhanced comedic value and the idea just seemed to resonate.  It was one of those situations where we silently looked at each other, smirked and realized that maybe the idea was worth some additional brainstorming.  (I also think it’s worth noting that our father has had a mustache since he was 21 and we have literally never seen his upper lip free of fuzz).

Over the next month or so we put together an overwhelming list of ideas and then approached Justin, a graphic designer we knew through the lovely sport of soccer (futbol for the Europeans).  From roughly February ’08 until the end of May, we spent our time making heaps of purchases (screenprinter, shirts, ink, screens, loads of shop towels, etc. etc.) designing and skinning the website and learning the significant tricks of the trade.  Finally in late May we launched our baby to the masses with bated breath.  So to answer your question, currently we’ve been in operation a few days over 5 months.

Coty: Many of your tees have featured the artwork of Craig Watkins, better known in the t-shirt design world as Wotto. What has it been like to work with Wotto and why do you think his artwork matches so well with the Fuzzy Ink brand? 

Fuzzy Ink: We honestly have nothing but positive things to say about Craig aka the Wottster as he has been an absolutely phenomenal person to work with.  Although our initial collaboration started as a more professional-based endeavor, we quickly realized that Craig was better suited as a friend.  With regard to his artistic styling, he produces amazingly unique pieces that are whimsical and playful in nature.  As kids at heart ourselves, we were instantly attracted to the brilliant Scotsman’s creations.  Additionally, although he lets his imagination run wild on the canvas, in the business world he’s a spot on professional.  Not only has he shattered our expectations with his nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic, but he has also provided endless promotion for his design contributions.  Craig truly is an unbelievably caring and kind-hearted gentlemen and we’ll certainly be combining forces again in the very near future =)

Coty: On the topic of mustaches, it would be a bit hypocritical if you didn’t sport one yourself! So the million dollar question is does the mind behind Fuzzy Ink sport a thick mustache much like the ones he promotes and sells? Do you require all Fuzzy Ink employees to sport mustaches as well?

Fuzzy Ink: Is it a crime to be hypocritical (slowly backs out of the room).  The proper answer is yes…unfortunately the honest answer is no.  We have definitely attempted to grow the ‘stache on a number of occasions, but none of us seem to have been blessed with a lovely plethora of magical mustache locks.  You will be excited to know though, that all of us are currently participating in Movember and thus are showcasing the patchy, pedophile look for the time being; there’s definitely no guarantee we’ll make it through the 2nd week though.  With regard to employee ‘staches, we’d like to think that if we actually had other team members, we would indeed crack down on their facial hair habits and require a strong, majestic soup strainer.  Yes, yes you should practice what you preach, which is why we would all be wearing beautifully hand-crafted fake mustaches as we gave any order ;).  We’re still giving thought to the female option though…

Coty: The Fuzzy Ink catalog of tees is growing. If you had to choose your de facto favorite design, which would it be and why? 

Fuzzy Ink: Because tastes and perspectives vary with each individual, we’ll list the specific favorites of each Fuzzy member:

Mike:  Tough question, but I would have to choose You’re Nick’d Guv; I was immediately drawn to this older Wotto design and as John can vouch (please forgive me Craig!!!) I crossed my fingers that 90 days would be reached before Threadless picked it up.  It’s just a really fun design and I could honestly rock that shirt every day of the week.

John:  For me, Striking has that simple yet complex look to it that makes it my favorite shirt in the collection. Everything about that design just works for me, from the contrast of the cyan and asphalt to the placement of the composition on the t-shirt. Definitely a shirt that I wear more than once in a normal week.

Justin:  Sometimes the best designs come about when you’re not trying to design anything at all. That was the case with Striking. It started out as just digital doodling and ended up being my favorite simple yet striking design in the Fuzzy fleet.

Coty: I just wanted to add that my favorite has got to be I Got 99 Staches… (though I am reaaaally thinking about picking up Striking!). 

Coty: You currently have a new zip-up for presale; is this the beginning of Fuzzy Ink moving beyond selling just tees and faux mustaches?

Fuzzy Ink: Absolutely!!!  We don’t want to spill all of the beans on our surprises in production, but we fully intend to embrace the cooler seasons of the year.  Additionally, in the very near future we’ll be introducing more accessories, some of which probably haven’t been seen in quite a few years (wink wink).  The current market is so saturated with identical products that the only way to distance and separate yourself from the competition (besides getting your hands on a few venture capitalists) is to offer unique and uncommon merchandise.

Coty: What has been the most challenging part for you in terms of running Fuzzy Ink? What do you like the most (and least) about the t-shirt design business? 

Fuzzy Ink: Hands down, the most challenging part about running Fuzzy Ink is literally having our hands in every aspect of the process.  Early on in our brainstorming, we decided that it would be most efficient to actually purchase a screenprinter and make the shirts ourselves in-house.  Throw into the mix all of the designing (website and apparel), screen setup, button-making, marketing, blogging, shipping, etc. and you have a very complex amalgamation of tasks.  Although things have been very daunting at times, it has definitely helped us to become immensely well-rounded with regard to the t-shirt environment as a whole. 

As with just about anything, there are highs and lows in the t-shirt business.  The most rewarding experience for us is two fold.  For starters, I don’t know if there’s a better feeling than when you make a sale (well maybe 30 sales =).  Much like myself, there are millions of professional browsers that do wonders for website hits, but just never seem to make that important transition to the checkout.  Knowing someone donated their hard-earned (assumed) money to sport one of our shirts, belts, buttons, etc. gives you great pride and motivation to crank up the production even higher.  Secondly, the launch of Fuzzy Ink has introduced us to an amazing number of people.  Sure networking can give you a leg-up with essential constituents and partners, but aside from business needs we’ve also gained a lot of quality friends.

At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve had the unfortunate luck of meeting some not-so-lovely individuals as well.  One in particular helped us to initially sell a certain shirt and things were going brilliantly.  Fast forward a few months and this bang up character is nowhere to be found, much like a large chunk of our change.  Although this current situation is still pending, we’re definitely a bit smarter when it comes to collaborating because in much of business the typical rules can be thrown right out the window. 

Coty: As an independent brand I am sure that you received fan mail from people that love Fuzzy Ink. Has there been any one fan in particular that has stuck out in your mind or maybe a particularly interesting photo submission?

Fuzzy Ink: Well we have had a number of interesting submissions, but probably the most memorable feedback we’ve received came at one of the craftshows we attended.  Probably about an hour or two into the show, a younger female approached our booth with an enormous smile.  She absolutely adored the Stache Anything shirt and we proceeded to have a wonderfully detailed conversation about John Cusack, our favorite movies growing up and of course loads of other nonsensical things.  Additionally, the same day we met a grizzled man who although probably a bit on the tipsy side, shared with us some great nostalgic stories about famous mustached men and their claims to fame.  Overall, it’s great to receive feedback through all mediums.  We welcome constructive comments and hope people continue to critique our unique creations. 

Justin, John and Mike: An overwhelming thanks to you Coty for the opportunity to share some of the Fuzzy Ink inner workings.  You do a phenomenal job with your blog and I hope we can help to bring you some unique visitors.  Safe endeavors my friend…

I’d like to thanks John Paul from Fuzzy Ink who contact me and was a blast to work with on this and the rest of the Fuzzy Ink team (Justin and Mike) who helped with this interview! I wish all of you the best in the future and many many tee (and mustaches) sales!

100th Tee Fury Tee and First Collaboration

Tee Fury has been around for just over 3 months and has just posted their 100th Tee. Tee Fury posts a different tee everyday for sale for a limited time of 24 hours. The great things about this new tee is that it’s not only the 100th Tee Fury tee to be released, but, it’s the first collaboration tee they’ve done. 

The art on the tee is the work of the many designers that frequent the Tee Fury forums. The idea was first suggested by Craig Watkins aka Wotto who suggested that people should submit their take on the Tee Fury bird logo for use on a collaboration tee. The final design is pretty great and the tee design itself is titled Furyous Omnibus. Grab yours now at TeeFury for a measly 9 bucks!