Monday, October 9, 2017

Getting My Geek On at Fred Wilson Chess Books NYC!

What makes for a perfect travel souvenir? It's a really tough question isn't it; and one that will have a different answer at times of life too I think. So at this stage of my life; I'm mostly happy with the pictures I take while I'm away as souvenirs of my journey. That said, for the last few years I have been playing chess again, and the search for nice and affordable chess sets has also become a bit of a thing. Where do all the chess pieces and chess boards go? I mean there must be millions of them out there, and yet they seem quite hard to find. At least attractive sets seem harder to find than you would probably think! New York City is of course a famous chess playing city so I thought where better to find an interesting vintage chess set than New York.. Continued below
Now before I left Sydney I did a bit of google searching for Thrift and Chess shops, hoping to turn up something nice without a specialist store or antique shop price tag. I found an interesting cluster of Thrift shops around East 23rd and Third Avenue including the City Opera Thrift Shop - nice - and my favourite Vintage Thrift Shop, "Nonprofit vintage-goods flagship store benefiting the United Jewish Council of the East Side." The latter shop had had a mid century modern Hermann Ohme Chess Set I spotted on their Instagram in the weeks before the trip, but unfortunately for me, already snapped up. They did have another set when I visited the store made of stone or marble, way too heavy to bring back; and not really the sort of thing I was after. So then it was a trip even further downtown to Fred Wilson's Chess Book store on East 11th Street in the hope he might have what I was after.
A beautiful props hire company, Bijan Royal on 11th Street. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney NY Edition.
Bijan Royal (props) on 11th Street
Fred's is not a street front shop; the book shop is up on the 3rd floor, so it was great to get inside an old commercial building with a beautiful ornate cast iron staircase - right outside the lift - on just day two. It's along the corridor and around the corner but very easy to find. And there it, and he were, and is in the pictures below. And Fred had just what I wanted, just what I was looking for, even if I did not know it myself.
An ornate cast iron staircase inside 80 East 11th Street New York. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney NY Edition.
An early to mid 1940's "Drueke's *American Made* Chessmen" Red and Cream #23 in the original box, a simple folding cardboard red and black board. And to top it off a volume called "Russians Verses Fischer," I mean does it get any more NY & American than that! All ready to go in the left of the portrait below. So there it was, a perfect NYC souvenir for me and I had a great time chatting with Fred,  talking about how bad my game is and I don't even understand why I like the game so much.. While there I also met a Ukrainian player who like me had found the shop via Google. Yes Google works. A week later I headed back to see if Fred had managed to dig out any Kasparov books for me. Again he came up trumps with a well annotated volume "Kasparov's Fighting Chess" and also recommended his own volume "Simple Attacking Plans" to help me get my game a little sharper. Fred I am reading it and enjoying "Simple Attacking Plans" direct, simple and effective concepts and game examples. Thank you! One last thing; one of the other uses for the souvenir chess set is that I like to work it into a shot of the place we have visited, sometimes with Vivienne for her travel website White Caviar Life; after all that's the real reason we were in NY in the first place. We did one, and that shot closes out this story below with a perfectly styled outfit. Hope you all like it. So don't for get to check out White Caviar Life too, New York, Prague, it's all happening, and Viv is now playing chess for real too!
Portrait of Fred Wilson at Fred Wilson Chess Books. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney NY Edition.
Fred Wilson at Fred Wilson Chess Books.
Fred Wilson and a customer at Fred Wilson books NYC. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney NY Edition.
Vivienne at the Roger Hotel, Manhattan NY going over a Bobby Fischer game using the Drueke's *American Made* Chessmen. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney NY Edition.
Fred Wilson Chess Books
80 East 11th Street, Suite 334
New York.

Telling Stories in Pictures all over..
Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863

1 comment:

Kent Johnson said...

Oh Irony of Irony - to discover Duchamp's final work, Étant donnés: was made a floor above Fred Wilson Chess Books! Marcel Duchmap was also a Master of the chess endgame and published at least one chess book too!