by Lloyd Carroll
It is impossible to truly thank one of the people who most shaped your life but Father’s Day is certainly an occasion to express appreciation for dad.
Getting a tie is a cliche but there are a lot of other clothing options. Tommy Bahama is legendary for festive summer attire while Lands End has stylish clothing for any season. Not every guy likes to wear hats, but if your dad likes to sport a fedora or other stylish head fashion then you won’t go wrong going with a chapeau from either Stetson or the Bailey Hat Company.
Atelier, American Eagle and Armani Exchange make quality shirts, shoes and sports jackets for guys.
Sunglasses are as much for fashion as to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Carrera and Ray-Ban are still the two big names in the industry. You can’t go wrong with either Foster Grant or Polaroid if you are on a tighter budget. Relative newcomers ICU and Zeal Optics both offer high-quality shades at very reasonable price points.
Watches are the most popular form of jewelry for men and they run the gamut in price. The funny thing is that an inexpensive watch doesn’t look all that different from its pricier counterpart and tells the same time. A good case in point are watches made by Long Island City’s own Armitron, the Bedlam and Agent watch lines from House of Horology which was created by Forest Hills High School alum Lawrence Leyderman, and the Timex Intelligent Quartz Fly-Back Chronographic Watch (now that’s a mouthful to both say and write). RUBR is a fun knock-around silicone watch that retails in the $20-$30 range while Fossil has plenty of attractive timepieces for well under $100.
If dad is a sports fan New Era will certainly have a T-shirt, jacket and cap of his favorite team. The hip T-shirt company, Sportiqe, makes terrific NBA apparel including a number of retro logos and styles. Old Navy and Sears are good places to go if you want to get a good deal on Major League Baseball apparel. Aeropostale does not have licensing agreements with any of the professional leagues but it does have one in place with the NCAA so it’s a good place to buy apparel that features the name of your father’s alma mater.
Athletic Recon doesn’t have licensing deals in place with the big sports leagues but it does make T-shirts, pants and windbreakers for those who are serious about working out.
You have to like the concept behind of Outofprintclothing.com. The company places the covers of classic literature on the front of its T-shirts.
Levi Strauss is to jeans what Kleenex is to tissues, a brand so dominant that it is almost synonymous with the product that they make. Levi’s, as they are better known, may make the most comfortable and durable jeans but the company has faced significant competition over the years. Taking on rivals along with a sluggish economy has encouraged the San Francisco-based corporation to create budget lines as Signature and Denizen which offer Levi’s quality but at Wrangler and Lee prices.
Staying fit is important for everyone but it’s particularly vital as one ages. Bicycle riding through Flushing Meadow Park is great exercise especially in warm weather as Schwinn, Cannondale, and Mongoose all make high-quality bikes for all levels of cyclists.
Your father may not be in training for the New York City Marathon but a good brisk walk can do wonders for both one’s physical and mental health. Brooks Running, Asics, Avia, Reebok and Nike all make footwear that are lighter than the traditional sneaker making it easier to go longer distances. Spira Footwear’s Stinger II has metal springs in its heels which reduce the pressure on your foot when it strikes the ground.
My favorite summer exercise is walking on the beach. It is refreshing when the surf goes over your feet and the upper calf muscles get a good workout in the process. Both Crocs and Havaianas make footwear specifically for the beach.
Of course aches and pains frequently accompany exercise at any age but particularly as you get older. Lightstim for Pain (lightstim.com) is a wand-like device that uses light wavelength technology.
Speaking of health, vitamins are a good Father’s Day “stocking stuffer.” Nearly everyone can benefit from a good multivitamin. If your father needs a little help in lowering his cholesterol Quality of Life’s CardioChol, Nature Made’s Cholest Off and New Chapter’s Garlic Force all purport to help lower bad cholesterol.
Women’s products have long dominated the fragrance and skin care industries but men have chipped away at the market share. Contrary to popular belief, Mary Kay, Amway, Shiseido, Turo and Avon all make colognes, after-shaves and cleanser products for men while Jack Black and Anthony Logistics have always made products exclusively for guys. I Coloniali is an Italian company that has made inroads in the U.S. men’s grooming market. Another good choice is Dossage 8 for Men from former Queens resident Tara Durkin who set up her company in LA.
All men worry about their hair regardless of age and certainly more so as they get older. Paul Brown Hawaii, Austin Kyle and Recitals are salon-caliber shampoos. Grande Hair is a spray that purports to stimulate the follicles to give hair a fuller, thicker appearance. Grande also makes a shampoo.
Gadgets are always popular gifts. Hewlett-Packard’s ENVYx2 is a notebook that has a screen that can separate and become a tablet. H-P has just introduced the Pocket Playlist, a whopping 32 GB flashdrive that can hold a countless amount of movies, other videos and music. Samsung’s Galaxy Note II is a popular smartphone that can also double as a tablet.
Of course you always need to keep your devices charged. A company called iGO makes a portable power device that can keep the juice flowing into your tablets, smartphones, etc. for five hours if you are away from an electrical outlet.
3M makes a number of screen protectors that reduce glare as well as fingertip smudges.
You can carry all of your electronic devices both big and small in style with the Oscar & Anna Statesmen Messenger Bag (oscarandanna.com).
One of the apparent casualties of digital photography was the photo album. A company called Mosaic (heymosaic.com) will take the pictures on your smartphone and covert them into the physical album that you used to get from a professional photographer for those special family occasions such as weddings and bar mitzvahs.
The popularity of the chefs on Food Network and the Cooking Channel have made more men want to prepare their own meals. Kohl’s is selling a line of Bobby Flay woks, carving boards and skillets as well as a number of George Foreman indoor grills. For those who have outdoor space, Char-broil manufactures numerous portable, electric and charcoal grills.
While on the topic of food, let’s get to the world of spirits. A number of medical surveys have indicated that red wine is beneficial for cardiac health. I am partial to pinot noir that is produced in the Pacific Northwest from wineries as Benton-Lane and Willamette Valley. Argentina’s Terrazas de los Andes’ malbec and cabernet sauvignon are also full-bodied wines that are easy to sip since they do not have a bitter aftertaste.
Just as there is no shortage of good red wines, the selection of harder liquors is plentiful as well. Johnnie Walker is still the household name in whisky Macallan, Canadian Club, Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Grant’s Family Reserve are worthy competitors. Japan, which has long been known for great sake (TY KU is the leading brand here) is home to fine whisky brands as Yamazaki and Hamishu. And of course, let’s not sell America short. Jack Daniel’s is iconic but Russell’s Reserve bourbon and American Alibi whisky show that the USA can produce quality hard booze as well.
Rums and vodka are a little easier on the palate. Bacardi, Jose Cuervo, Don Julio, Herradura, and Milagro are the best known rums while Stolichnaya, Smirnoff, Ketel One, Georgi and Reyka are their vodka counterparts.
Aperitifs are the candy of the alcohol world. Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, Godiva Liquer, LeSutra Sparkling Liquer and Solerno Blood Orange Liquer are some of the popular choices.
Getting moving in the morning doesn’t get easier as you get older. If dad likes his coffee when the day starts, pick up a Bella programmable 12-cup coffee maker or a Keurig single serving machine if he is a K-cup aficionado.
While it’s not wise to encourage smoking, there is little harm if pop enjoys a cigar for special occasions. Macanudo and La Palina are two high-end cigar brands.
Last year it was the Beach Boys who celebrated their 50th anniversary with a grueling concert tour and a superb compilation album titled “50 Big Ones” (Capitol). This year the Rolling Stones are commemorating that milestone with a tour, a compilation CD set (Universal Records), and a number of books including the terrific “The Rolling Stones 50 Licks” (Bloomsbury) written by the one of the most respected rock music radio air personalities of all-time, the late Pete Fornatale who completed the book shortly before his unexpected death last year. It is an oral history that collects testimony from current and former Stones members as well as those who have worked with them in some capacity.
A lot of dads are sports fans and it is always a lot of fun to see your favorite team on the road. San Diego is always a beautiful place to visit particularly in August when its balmy breezes are a welcome contrast from the New York heat and humidity.
The Yankees and Mets will be visiting San Diego the first and third weeks of August respectively to play the Padres in one of the nicest ballparks you’ll ever set foot in, Petco Park. Queens’ own JetBlue has two flights a day between JFK and San Diego’s Lindbergh Airport.
There is no shortage of reasonably priced lodging in the San Diego area. The historic Grande Colonial, located in La Jolla Village where Mitt Romney is a part-year resident, is celebrating its centennial this year. The hotel is located a block from the Pacific Ocean. The sunsets at La Jolla Cove are spectacular.
The Grand Hyatt La Jolla is located a couple of miles east of the Grande Colonial Hotel in the University Town Center section of San Diego which is reminiscent of Queens in many ways because of its neighborhood feel, numerous stores and restaurants, and public transportation. The Grand Hyatt La Jolla has an Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool and large Jacuzzi that certainly capture the spirit of Southern California.
The West Inn & Suites is a boutique hotel located just north of San Diego in the town of Carlsbad. The West Inn provides a lot of amenities including a complimentary local shuttle bus, hot buffet breakfast, and even milk and cookies before bedtime (ah, the kid in all of us) for a very reasonable rate.
If price is not an issue and you want to treat your father to a once-in-a-lifetime sports experience such as attending the British Open, Wimbledon or the World Cup in Brazil, Kensington Tours can customize a first-class travel package.
Summer is understandably the golf off-season in South Florida and the ritzy Turnberry Isle Resort located just north of Miami Beach in the town of Aventura offers heavily discounted packages that include lodging, food, and of course, a round of golf on its championship course.
This is also the quiet season for Caribbean resorts and there are also bargains to be had. It should be noted that the sea breezes keep a lot of the islands from getting unbearably hot or overly humid.
The Magdalena Resort in Tobago has one of the best golf courses in the Caribbean and it is a lot easier getting a tee time now than in December.
Don’t worry if dad doesn’t hit the links. He can still enjoy the beaches and spas of the Sugar Beach Resort in St. Lucia, the Westin St. John Resort & Villas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Hyatt Regency Aruba. It should be noted that JetBlue has service to both the U.S. Virgin Islands and Aruba.
The success of the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct has forced nearby gaming casinos to be more competitive. The Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. gets in the biggest names in entertainment to perform in its arena and it has top-of-the-line restaurants, a world-class spa, and even professional sports, as it’s the home of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.
Atlantic City is synonymous with gambling but it has plenty of other activities to keep one busy. Walking its world-famous five-mile boardwalk is great exercise. Its newest hotel, the billion-dollar Revel, is located on the north end of the boardwalk and is meant to be a competitor to the chic Borgata located a mile away on the bay. My suggestion is to visit both the Revel and the Borgata and enjoy a meal there but stay at the Taj Mahal, Caesars, or Showboat where you’ll get far better value and feel more at home.
Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads.