Matt Fox left the theater industry and joined forces with Enrique Crame III to realize the dream they shared of running a men's accessories boutique. In 2008, they began with an online business, which they used as a platform to present and develop their dandy style. Next, they had pop-up shops at places such as Onassis and The Blind Barber, before finally going on to establish their independent business in its current location on 49th.
The duo have explored the trends of former eras, offering accessories that will appeal to anyone looking to make a snazzy statement or perfect their class act. Enrique also spoke of customers who come in searching for something to help them update their style or to simply refresh their habitual mode.
Kerchiefs, bow ties and neckties in endless colors hang next to suspenders and a display of cuff links, while old-fashioned suitcases hold socks and belts. In addition to the beautiful collection of retro nouveau clothes, Fine and Dandy carries vintage toys and college pennants. The store also collaborates with artisan candle, soap, and cologne makers. One of the most impressive characteristics of the Fine and Dandy duo is their commitment to selling things made in the United States, with many of their products produced in New York.
Matt and Enrique shared with me that in the few years they have been here, despite their tres petite space, this neighborhood is the "perfect spot" for them. And while observing them in action with the frequent customers stopping by, I appreciated the attentive service that they gave to everyone who came through their door.
Opened in 1992 and originally located on the Upper East Side, Oceana moved to 49th Street in 2009. The Livanos family sowed the seeds for the glorious Oceana long ago when they ran a diner and realized their ambitions to develop it into something more. Having worked hard to make their dreams a reality, Oceana continues to pride itself on the freshness of its food and makes a point to have direct relationships with the fish mongers and farmers. Although some have called Oceana the Mecca of seafood, the restaurant's menu is notably diverse. The executive chef, Ben Pollinger, takes to the broad reaches of American cuisine and mixes elements of different dishes together, often in an unexpected way. The Manhattan Sideways team eagerly sampled a few of the marvelous dishes, including the Copper River Sockeye Salmon Crudo, featuring pickled ramps, parsley oil, and Amagansett sea salt, and the Sea Scallops Ceviche that is topped with peaches, ginger, and cinnamon basil. I was pleasantly surprised by the incredible vegetarian dish that the chef also prepared - Summer Squash & Cranberry Bean Salad, consisting of zucchini, gold bar and pattypan squash, pignoli, purslane and drizzled in lemon vinaigrette. Absolutely delicious. The last member of the Oceana team that we were introduced to was their wine director, Pedro Goncalves. Pedro, who began working at Oceana in 2001, makes a concerted effort to develop drink pairings to accompany the delectable food menu. Standing near the white marble bar, he proudly told us that Oceana has 1100 wine listings and 600 spirits. He went on to report that with forty-seven different gins, Oceana has one of the largest selections of in the city. "There is something to fit every personality, " Pedro said.
If the sight of a regular lunch rush doesn’t convince you to try La Bellezza Pizzeria, then their pitch-perfect, classic New York slices will. After a trip in to try their signature pepperoni and tomato slices (a well-seasoned combination of cheesy, crunchy and savory, the Bellezza team has mastered the elusive sauce-to-cheese ratio), we got a chance to check in with the Dedvukaj family who have operated the East Midtown pizza joint for the past 23 years. Founded by Bronx-based Marko Dedvukaj, son Frank Dedvukaj — who started slinging slices in the shop at just 20 years old — took over the business so that, as Marko put it, “I can focus on the most important job of all — spoiling my grandkids, ” he told us, surrounded by visiting family members, some of whom also used to work at La Bellezza. As groups of grateful office workers filed in and out of the intimate storefront for a slice of pizza or La Bellezza’s famous chicken parmigiano hero — “at one point we were voted the #1 Chicken Parm on Yelp” Frank told us, he added that the biggest change he’s seen in business is a post-COVID slowdown of daytime visitors to the block. “The area is quieter, ” said Frank, noting that they still maintain a set of loyal regulars. “We’re still here! ”