The Friday Read: The Rooftop at Pier 17, The Best Men’s Sunglasses & the Todd Snyder Land Cruiser

One of the best views in the city for drinks? You bet. Image courtesy of R17.

While we normally start The Friday Read by recommending a men’s style essential to buy in advance of the weekend, we’re going to go a different route today — I’m going to point you toward one of the best new restaurants in New York City, a proper dining experience I recently found delightful. That is to say, the Rooftop at Pier 17, also known as R17, is the place to be this summer. As it were, Pier 17 is also one of the best venues for music in the city, with past acts running the gamut from Passion Pit to Kings of Leon (both of which are right up my alley).

R17 was kind enough to seat myself and my great friend + fellow media industry pro Kyle Campbell on a recent evening, and I can’t say enough about the wall-to-wall experience at R17. It’s absolutely one of the best rooftops for drinks in the Big Apple, and I don’t say that lightly — it’s rare I get the chance to escape to a rooftop, let alone on a weeknight, for some lovely bites and cocktails. Get the English Muffin Burger, but not before you’ve started things off with some Crispy Potatoes. Wash it down with a Kentucky Cooler, a delightfully delicious bourbon-rouge vermouth-campari concoction that was surprisingly perfect for summer — especially on a hot night. If you happen to be in NYC this weekend or in the months ahead, squeeze in some time to visit the Rooftop at Pier 17 — no regrets to be found anywhere (and a heck of a view to go along with it!). Now onto the rest of today’s Friday Read. Start your weekend the right way here, will you?

The right accessories can make all the difference when it comes to your #OOTD — that’s why I’m re-upping my post on the best men’s sunglasses (and you should check out my own post on this blog covering another pair of must-have sunglasses). Any one of those pairs could be the perfect way to soak up some rays.

  • Let’s keep talking about the best men’s gear, shall we? On that note, I also covered the best messenger bags for men over at The Manual, featuring tried-and-true, favorite brands like WP Standard (as seen on my Instagram) and a few others I’m sure you’ll recognize. Time to gear up!
  • Lastly, let’s have a little fun before we start the weekend. You surely know Todd Snyder, my favorite American menswear designer — and assuredly, a favorite of yours, as well. But did you know that Mr. Snyder recently put his stamp on a custom-made, investment-level car? Yes indeed, the Todd Snyder FJ43 Land Cruiser is iconic and one-of-a-kind. Head to GearMoose to get the full scoop via my latest feature for that site.

One last time before we head out of here for a few days: I’d implore you to check out my favorite menswear picks for the rest of summer, featuring an indigo Western shirt, classic men’s chinos and plenty more wearable picks for any day of the week. OK, that’s all for now — cheers!

The Product Review: Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag

Editor’s note: For more product reviews covering excellent #menswear staples, head right this way.

Fit for the hills of Greece and the NYC commute, too: the Slim Mailbag from Satchel & Page.

Fit for the hills of Greece and the NYC commute, too: the Slim Mailbag from Satchel & Page.

As you go about improving your sense of style, it only makes sense that the details take on an added importance — as they should. Style upgrades in areas both big and small definitely contribute to a broader package in terms of your personal appearance. And there are a surprising number of companies allowing guys to get great quality for those upgrades while supporting up-and-coming brands (blog favorites like Pistol Lake and Apolis definitely fit this mold). Satchel & Page has certainly made a name for itself doing that, thanks to an initial Kickstarter run of simple yet handsome bags that raised nearly $230,000. The product focus has expanded since that time to include leather jackets and more, but its staple products — especially its well-known Slim Mailbag — are just as high-quality as ever.

I had the chance to chat via phone with founder Daniel Ralsky as I hopped on a plane to Michigan last month, and I had the good fortune to get my hands on the Slim Mailbag as I also hopped through Greece at the start of August (check out more on that trip here). And it’s proven every bit up to the challenge of navigating both international air (and ground) travel and the rigors of commuting in NYC. (Editor’s note: Before we dive in, although this bag is available right away, certain products — like the brand’s new line of belts — do fund via Kickstarter or the brand’s Web site).

Another shot from beautiful Santorini, Greece. The Slim Mailbag alongside a Goorin Brothers vintage ballcap.

Another shot from beautiful Santorini, Greece. The Slim Mailbag alongside a Goorin Brothers vintage ballcap.

The bag is, generally speaking, remarkably well-made and will absolutely only get better with age. It’s the type of piece I’m excited to get more use out of, because thanks to the excellent, rich leather, it should tell quite the unique story. Already, the patina is changing and actually looking all the better for it. It comes with a lifetime warranty and crucially, it feels like it could stand up to that test. The leather is thick yet not too stiff out of the box, ideal for a bag that was asked to do a lot right away, including lugging around my laptop and Issara leather laptop sleeve, plus various notebooks. Contained within the bag are also compartments for an iPhone, pens and business cards. The body of the bag itself has broken in remarkably well, a testament to the quality of the leather.

A closer look at some of the sturdy hardware on the Slim Mailbag.

A closer look at some of the sturdy hardware on the Slim Mailbag.

A leather shoulder strap rounds things out comfortably, and thankfully, it’s not at all tiresome to wear. The rest of the piece is quite remarkable in terms of quality. The 6-8 oz. rich brown, full-grain leather gets its rugged good looks from a hot stuffing method using oils and waxes — custom made by the company’s tannery, to boot. As you can see in the above photo, the bag is already beginning to take on unique nicks and scratches, which only make it look better (in my opinion). If you’re looking for a sleek, boardroom-ready briefcase, this isn’t the bag for you — but those who need something stylish, rugged and effective at carrying around the essentials will be more than happy to hear it stands up to the test. Note that this bag is three pounds, so it’s by no means a remarkably light carry if you only have a few items (say, not even a laptop).

A side-by-side look at the Slim Mailbag next to a slightly larger Kenneth Cole messenger bag.

But for those who like some history with their everyday carry, this bag’s got that, too — it’s inspired by the same style of bag carried by the U.S. Postal Service in the early 1900s, so it’s certainly up to a rigorous commute.  Officially as far as dimension go, the bag runs 11″ by 14.5″ wide by 4″ deep (so those with laptops running at 15″ should probably look to the brand’s larger, regular Mailbag). Hand-hammered copper rivets and antique brass hardware also lend the bag a lived-in look.

An in-depth look at the inside of this bag -- well-constructed and with just enough space for everything you might need.

An in-depth look at the inside of this bag — well-constructed and with just enough space for everything you might need. Photo courtesy of Satchel & Page.

Like some of the brand’s other products, this bag isn’t cheap up front, but it’s certainly durable and long-lasting enough to justify the price. Note that the relatively similar-in-looks Montague Leather Satchel from J. Crew retails for about $100 — if you can’t pony up the cash right now, that’d provide a slightly flashier approximation. It isn’t, however, the decidedly more casual waxed canvas and leather laptop bag that J. Crew also sells, which goes for just under $100. Yes, Satchel & Page’s Slim Mailbag provides both more sophistication and higher-quality leather and hardware than its peers in the market (although Navali’s Mainstay Messenger Bag would be worth your time as well if an in-between option was needed).  

Not all will find Satchel & Page’s rugged bag appropriate for their commute or their office, or with enough space to lug everything around, but the durability and quality combination is to be commended. The leather is rich and durable, the fastenings and hardware are sturdy, and the space is, for my needs, more than adequate. It’s the type of bag that looks great now and will absolutely improve down the line — hopefully, in both looks and performance.
Ben Sherman US