BY LLOYD CARROLL - SPECIAL TO BROOKLYN DIGEST
It is impossible to truly thank the person who most shaped your life but Father’s Day is certainly an occasion to express appreciation for dad.
Before delving into gift selections, one shouldn’t forget the importance of the good old greeting card. If dad has a sense of humor, and hopefully he does, both Paper Epiphanies (paperepiphanies.com) and Bald Guy Greetings (baldguygreetings.com) have cards (some bordering on the R-rated) that should put a smile on his face.
|Ben Sherman House Check.
Summer is the ideal time to wear polo shirts and the number of brands in the his area has greatly expanded although Ralph Lauren and US Polo Association are still the market share leaders. Among the other options as Vineyard Vines’ Solid Edgerton Polo, Banana Republic’s Luxury Touch Polo, and the Vince Camuto Striped Performance Polo Short.
Oakley, best known for its athletic performance eyewear, has been expanding into the apparel world. It has teamed up with PGA Tour star Bubba Watson for a line of shirts and pants that have both style and good range of motion for both on the golf course and off of it.
|Bubba Capsule Collection Uniform Polo.
Competing for the golf fashion dollar is another well-known brand in the links world, TaylorMade, which teamed up with designer Peter Millar for a line of apparel that works both on the golf course and outside of it.
The keys to pants are style, comfort, and durability. Lands’ End makes both comfortable dress pants for warm weather as well as stylish shorts for a summer outdoor social. If you want to treat dad to high-end European-style tailoring, Alberto Pants, is a very good choice.
|Levi's famous label.
Target has created its own private label brand, Goodfellow & Company, which offers quality clothing at very affordable prices in its department stores. If you are on a tight budget you can get Goodfellow short sleeve shirts, jeans, and board shorts for under $20. Old Navy has their eponymous private label for shirts, jeans, and shorts for similar price points.
Former Mets first baseman Mo Vaughn started a large-sized clothing company, MVP Collections, a few years ago out of frustration from not being able to find styles that average guys had no trouble buying. MVP Collections specializes in men’s leisure wear although Mo told me last year that he may expand into more business fare in the near future.
|Mo Vaughn in his MVP Collections wear.
Men’s shoes have far more styles today than when I was growing up. A baby boomer brand, Hush Puppies, has expanded from its line of beige loafers to a full-line of both casual and dress shoes that have the comfort that one associates with the brand. Other comfortable footwear options are the Coach Slip-on, Sperry Striper, the Vince Camuto loafer, Clarks Desert Boot, Clarks Step Loafer, Goodfellow & Co.’s Men’s Kayden Loafers, and Goodfellow & Co.’s Men’s Augustus Chukka Boot.
|Vince Camuto Enrico Loafer Dress Shoes.
We are entering summer so bathing suits and flip-flops have to be part of the discussion. Lily Pulitzer makes colorful swim trunks for guys while Havaianas are terrific thongs. Havaianas signed a licensing deal with both Major League Baseball and FIFA (the folks who run soccer’s World Cup) so that you can show your love for your favorite baseball team or country participating in the tournament which is about to get underway in Russia. Other beach footwear options are Vineyard Vines Whale Flip-Flops and Okabashi Eurosport.
|Havaianas Mets Top Sandals.
Speaking of the beach, Vineyard Vines has a line of what it calls Chappy Trunks while American Eagle has its Classic Board Shorts.
Of course you can’t discuss Father’s Day without that most cliched of gifts, the tie. Things have changed over the years however as ties have become an integral part of fashion. This isn’t the 1950s Eisenhower era. Both Knot Society and ties.com make eye-catching neckwear. General Knot & Co. makes ties and pocket squares from vintage and hard-to-find textiles. The photo department of CVS can make a tie for you from your photos (they also make mugs) if you log onto cvs.com.
|Knot Society's Morrison Tie.
Ranking right behind ties as the stereotypical Dad’s Day gift is the wallet. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad gift choice if your pop is walking around with a beat-up billfold. I know that I hold onto my wallets long past their rightful expiration dates. Buxton Company’s (buxton.co) Bellamy Collection C-Fold, NDK’s Cosmopolitan Collection, and French Wink’s (frenchwink.com) Wallet Full line will help keep dad’s dollars and credit cards organized and are stylish in the process. Another good source for quality leather billfolds is laudividni.com which derives its name from “individual” spelled backwards.
If dad likes to wear hats, Banana Republic’s Straw Trilby Hat, is a fun summer fashion statement.
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 brand names in the industry fans of aviator frames. An up-and-coming brand for aviator sunglasses buffs is Revo. Tiposi, a brand favored by golfers and outdoors aficionados of all kinds, because of their terrific lenses including photochromics that change with the light available akin to Transitions. Oakley and Nike are both famous their wraparound shades which are favored by baseball and softball players and especially golfers. Tura’s (tura.com) Ted Baker line of sunglasses and Banana Republic’s Johnny Sunglasses replicate the classic wayfarer styles that President John F. Kennedy favored.
|Ted Baker sunglasses.
Watches are the most popular form of jewelry for men and they run the gamut in price. These days men treat timepieces as fashion accessories as much as women do. The funny thing is that an inexpensive watch doesn’t look and perform all that different from its pricier counterparts. A good case in point are watches made by Little Neck’s own Armitron which makes a solar power, battery-free watch, the Armitron Adventure, and the Timex Automatic Marlin.
|Timex Automatic Marlin.
Baby boomers will fondly remember Speidel’s Twist-O-Flex metal track watchbands. Sure, they left teeth marks on your wrist at the end of the day but they lasted forever. The company has created a special Twist-O-Flex band for Apple smartwatches that retail for around $80. Timex’s Standard Line and the Vince Camuto Embossed Leather Band Watch also retail below $100.
|Speidel Twist-O-Flex Classic Band.
If dad is a serious New York Yankees fan, the Original Grain Watch Company is producing a line of watches that includes the wood from seats in the old Yankee Stadium that date back to 1923. They also have other timepiece options in their NYY Chrono Collection.
|Original Grain Watch's NYY Chrono.
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, ReVive, Organic Doctor, and Avon now all make colognes, after-shaves, cleansers, and yes anti-aging serums for men while Menaji, Jack Black and Anthony Logistics have always made products exclusively for guys. If you want to cover your bets, Malin+Goetz’s Essentials Kit has sample-sized bottles of moisturizer, facial cleanser, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner as does Peter Thomas Roth’s The A-List collection. Ceramedx is a great lotion for relieving dry skin.
Good fragrance choices for guys are Dossage 8 for Men from former Jackson Heights resident Tara Durkin (dossage.com), Kiso Cologne (which can be purchased at themotley.com),, and L’Oreal’s Aqua Gio Pour Homme which can be found in numerous department stores.
Savannah Bee, which makes almost every kind of honey and honey product imaginable, makes varieties of honey soap that exfoliate the skin. Stonewall Kitchen, out of Maine, also has various gift baskets that include soaps that should please any father.
|Savannah Bee honey soaps.
All men worry about their hair regardless of age and certainly more so as they get older. Paul Brown Hawaii, Baxter of California, Austin Kyle, Tigi B, Paul Mitchell, Recitals, He’s a 10 (itsa10haricare.com) are salon-caliber shampoos. Grande Hair is a spray that purports to stimulate the follicles to give hair a fuller, thicker appearance. Grande, Color Wow, and Dr Marder Scalp Relief Therapy make shampoos and conditioners that purport to fight hair loss.
Managing facial hair is another thing guys obsess over. Gillette’s Skinguard is that company’s start-of-the-art manual razor. Harry’s (harrys.com) and Dollar Shave Club both have gift boxed sets of grooming products with Dollar Shave cleverly calling theirs “The DadBod Gift Set.” Gillette, which has gift sets at Target, is now competing with Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club with its on-demand service ondemand.gillette.com). Beau Brummell (beaubrummellformen.com) makes shaving ancillary items such as brushes, shaving cream, facial scrub, mask, and wash.
|Dollar Shave Club's DadBod Gift Set.
There are endless home entertainment options available to the consumer. Consider a subscription to Hulu, the Rolls-Royce of streaming entertainment services, if your father is a fan of either classic or cutting edge television series. CBS All Access is another good televison subscription option since it allows access to a good chunk of past and current CBS TV series as well as exclusive programming such as “The Good Fight,.” “Tell Me A Story,” and the revival of “The Twilight Zone.” If he is more of a movie buff, Netflix is a good choice. Horror buffs will love Shudder (shudder.com) that has original programming and shows both contemporary and classic scare films, and yes, some of them are delightfully cheesy.
ESPN Plus is the latest entrant in the TV streaming subscription biz and you can view every documentary in its massive “30 for 30" film documentary library. Other sports streaming options include DAZN (a must for boxing and mixed martial arts fans and which has a great nightly baseball highlight show), NBC Sports Gold, and Bleacher Report Live (B/R Live).
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. For those who have outdoor space, Char-broil and Black & Decker (through its world-famous George Foreman line) and Kenyon manufacture numerous portable, electric and charcoal grills. Hamilton Beach makes slow cookers and blenders which run in the very friendly $20-50 range.
|Black & Decker's George Foreman Grill.
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, Chile’s Testa Aliwen and Undurraga red varieties are also full-bodied wines that are easy to sip since they do not have a bitter aftertaste. Moet &Chandon Rose Imperial from France is ideal for those who want a gentle blend of red and white wine.
If dad is a fan of California whites, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Pinot Grigio and Callie Collection Pino Grigio are solid selections. If he prefers reds from the Golden State, Mark West Pinot Noir and Josh Cellars Merlot and Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon are fine and reasonably priced options.
Josh Cellars has smartly borrowed a page from the skin care and fragrance industries by creating a Travel Dad Gift Box which not only contains a bottle of its wines but also a travel kit with grooming products.
|Josh Cellars Travel Dad Gift Set.
Just as there are no shortage of good red wines, the selection of harder liquors is plentiful as well. While Johnny Walker is still the biggest name in scotch whisky (Johnny Walker Blue is still the gold standard), Macallan, Bowmore, Canadian Club, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Highland Park Valkyrie, Balvenie, The Fat Trout, Tyroconnell, Virginia Black, Grant’s Family Reserve, Dewar’s, (Dewar’s 18 is a particularly smooth scotch), Buchanan’s Special Reserve, and Orphan Barrel Whisky Company (which produces a 26 year-old scotch) 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, Suntory, Yamazaki and Hamishu. Mexico is more known for tequila and the famous liquer, Kahlua, but it does have a good whisky brand, Sierra Norte, which come in three different varieties, yellow, black, and white, based on the different corn mash that went into the fermentation process.
Rum, vodka, and tequila are a little easier on the palate. Bacardi, Jose Cuervo, Don Julio, Herradura, Partida. Plantation, Santa Teresa 1796, and Milagro are the best known rums while Grey Goose, Belvedere, Stolichnaya, Smirnoff, Ketel One, Georgi and Reyka are their vodka counterparts. If you want top of the line Stoli, then try a bottle of their elit brand. Soltado is a tequila which has an extra kick to it because it contains Serrano chiles. Roca Patron is a milder, upscale tequila while you can never go wrong with Tequila Don Julio 1942.
Gin is making a comeback. Nolet’s Silver Dry has a touch of fruit flavor to make it a bit less harsh than other gins. Actor Ryan Reynolds recently launched Aviation American Gin. Other options are France’s Citadelle Gin Reserve and Great Britain’s smooth Brockman’s Gin.
Aperitifs are the candy of the alcohol world. Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua, Godiva Liquer, LeSutra Sparkling Liquer and Solerno Blood Orange Liquer are some of the popular choices. If you miss the days of Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers, Smirnoff Ice nicely combines fruit and booze.
Seltzer is a calorie-free refreshing beverage. SodaStream Fizzi converts everyday H2O into sparkling water in seconds and it doesn’t take up much counter space.
Getting moving in the morning doesn’t get easier as you get older. If dad likes his coffee when the day starts, Black & Decker has a number of inexpensive coffee makers. If he prefers his java with a little more pizzazz then get him the De Longhi Lattisma Pro. If he is more of a tea drinker Hamilton Beach makes a stylish copper kettle.
Of course for dad to truly enjoy a good meal and/or occasional drink without guilt it is important that he get exercise. Local gyms such as the New York Sports Club, Crunch, New York Health & Racquet Club, and Equinox generally have Father’s Day membership promotions.
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, New Balance, Asics, Aetrex, Avia, Reebok, and Nike all make footwear that are lighter than the traditional sneaker making it easier to go longer distances.
|Brooks Beast 18 Running Shoes.
If it has been awhile since dad worked on his golf game then send him out to the driving range at Alley Pond Park and the Pitch & Putt at Flushing Meadow Park. The Alley Pond Park range is a great place to use the M5 or M6 drivers from TaylorMade. You can use your TaylorMade Spider X putter when at Flushing Meadows.
Topgolf is a national chain of driving ranges that wants to be for the casual golfer what Bowlmor and Lucky Strike are to non-league bowlers; namely a place to work on your game but to be entertained as well with fine food and music. Right now the closest one is located in Edison, NJ but my guess is that Topgolf will come to Long Island and possibly Queens in the very near future.
Toys aren’t just for kids. The Hess Toy Truck 2019 Mini Collection will bring back a lot of memories as will Teleflora’s ‘67 Chevy Camaro Bouquet which places premium flowers in a miniature version of an American classic car.
Summer is a time when nearly everyone does some overnight traveling so duffel bags are very useful gifts. Kipling, Land’s End, Thule, Kelty, NDK, French Wink, Helly Hansen, the Northwest (which has a stylish Mets-themed bag) all make durable and spacious duffels that can easily be placed in the overhead bins of aircrafts to help avoid the checked bag fees.
San Diego is always a beautiful place to visit particularly in July and August when its balmy breezes are a welcome contrast from the New York heat and humidity. Queens’ own JetBlue has two flights a day between JFK and San Diego’s Lindbergh Airport.
There is no shortage of reasonably priced upscale lodging in the San Diego area. The historic Grande Colonial, located in La Jolla Village recently completed a $4 million renovation in which included remodeling of all of the bathrooms, new floors, draperies, mirrors, and bedding. The hotel is located a block from the Pacific Ocean and the sunsets at La Jolla Cove, where seals and sea lions like to frolic, are spectacular. When there be sure to try the highly Zagat-rated Nine-Ten Restaurant is located on the lobby level of the Grande Colonial.
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 truly capture the spirit of Southern California.
|Grand Hyatt La Jolla.
If you are going to visit southern California you might as well
spend some time in the Los Angeles area which is approximately 120 miles north of San Diego which depending on the time you travel can be anywhere from a two to four-hour trip up I-5.
Santa Monica is ideal because of its location at the end of Interstate 10. The very Santa Monica is an independent city in Los Angeles County and it has enough shopping and restaurants and mass transit to make a New Yorker feel quickly at home.
West Hollywood (or as the locals refer to it, “WeHo”) is an ideal place to stay if you want a more centralized area to stay in LA. Like Santa Monica, it is very easy to be a pedestrian in this independent city and there is ample mass transit, shopping, dining, and entertainment (it’s home to the famous Sunset Strip) Toney.
Beverly Hills and Century City are neighbors to the west while Hollywood (a.k.a. Tinseltown”) is just to the east.
WeHo has plenty of lodging so prices are competitive. The Ramada Plaza Hotel & Suites located at the intersections of Santa Monica and La Cienega Boulevards has clean spacious rooms, a charming pool, and laundry facilities on each floor.
Working out and eating right is crucial to health at any age but it’s particularly crucial for older folks. The Ranch at Live Oak in Malibu takes pride in getting one into the best shape of one’s life with hiking, yoga, calisthenics, and healthy meals throughout the day. The Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona is similar to the Ranch at Live Oak except that there is more emphasis on meditation and less on calisthenics.
Summer is understandably the 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. Two great golf resorts just up the road from Aventura on 1-95 in Palm Beach County are the PGA Resort in Palm Beach Gardens and the Seagate Resort in Delray Beach.
If you want to go to the Miami area, check out Sunny Isles which used to be known as the Motel Row section of Miami Beach. Those bargain-priced mom-and-pop properties are long gone as is the area’s famed deli, the Rascal House. In its place are gleaming skyscraper hotels and condos.
While you can’t go wrong with any of the hotels located on the northern strip of Collins Avenue, I heartily recommend the Doubletree Ocean Point Resort when in Sunny Isles Beach. The Ocean Point is affordable luxury with its reasonably priced suites which include washers and dryers, a full working kitchen, and balconies which allow you to look out over the Atlantic Ocean without obstruction. The bathrooms even have bidets! I highly recommend choosing a package that includes the very encompassing breakfast buffet that will certainly fill you up until it’s dinnertime. The Ocean Point Resort has event spaces for both corporate meetings and special occasion parties.
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.
Dad can scuba, kayak, sail, or just enjoy white sand beaches at Viceroy Sugar Beach Resort in St. Lucia, the Atlantis and Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, the Westin St. John Resort & Villas in the US Virgin Islands, the Hyatt Regency Aruba, and the Mango Bay Barbados Resort. If he wants to hit the links in the Caribbean he should try the Magdalena Beach & Golf Resort in Tobago.
You get great bang for the buck in the Dominican Republic and the city of Punta Cana has become one of the world’s most popular resorts because of the number of terrific all inclusive resorts such as the Grand Palladium, Excellence, Dreams, and Secrets where nearly everything is included in your room rate. The recent mysterious deaths of a seemingly healthy American couple in the town of Ramona in the Dominican Republic is troubling however. Dominican tourism officials pledge to get to the bottom of this mystery and are obviously hoping that there is no further bad medical news.
JetBlue, which has service throughout the Caribbean as well as to most of the domestic destinations I have detailed here, has just started twice-a-week service to Grenada. While there is a “rainy season” here, this picturesque island nation rarely gets summer or early fall hurricanes or even all-day wet weather. Grenada is known for its family-run boutique resorts such as the popular Spice Island Beach Resort which last year received the highly coveted AAA five Diamond Award but it does have chain all-inclusive properties such as Sandals that is located at Pink Gin Beach.
President Trump probably won’t be vacationing in Mexico anytime soon but our southern neighboring nation has some beautiful getaway spots. Cabo San Lucas located in the country’s southernmost point in the Baja California peninsula is one of the most beautiful resort towns in North America. Rock guitarist Sammy Hagar saw Cabo San Lucas as his answer to Jimmy Buffet’s Key West and opened his Caba Wabo nightclub here. There is no shortage of resorts in Cabo. The Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort clearly isn’t short on amenities and its adults-only policy makes it a perfect spot for dads who want to enjoy some quiet.
Up the coast from Cabo San Lucas is Mexico’s largest Pacific resort town, Puerto Vallarta. The Casa Velas, and its sister property, the Velas Vallarta are all inclusive resorts that include golf packages with one of Mexico’s two top country clubs, the Vista Vallarta or the Marina Vallarta Golf Club.
For those who prefer cooler the cooler climes of New England, the once sleepy city of Providence, Rhode Island’s capital, has quietly become a hot spot thanks to its centralized location which is about an hour’s drive from Boston and 45 minutes from Newport. Providence has a thriving arts and restaurant scene.
The success of the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct has forced nearby gaming casinos to be more competitive. The Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut gets in the biggest names in entertainment to perform in its arena and it has top-notch restaurants, a world class spa, and even professional sports, as it’s the home of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.
If you enjoy sensible gambling but prefer the mountains to the ocean, the Mount Airy Casino in the Poconos, should be to your liking. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from as well as name entertainment on many weekends.
Atlantic City, which lost both a number of boardwalk casino hotels a few years ago is undergoing a bit of a renaissance with the opening of the Ocean Resort (located on the site of the former Revel) and the Hard Rock Casino (where the Taj Mahal stood).
There is of course plenty for dad to do here in New York City on the water.
With summer upon us a dinner cruise on either World Yacht or Spirit Cruises is a very enjoyable way to spend an evening.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!