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Trenchcoat Retail

Once upon a time, in a New York City not so dissimilar to this one, there was a special breed of shady character.

He wore a trenchcoat, and it was lined with everything from counterfeit watches to cigarettes without tax stamps. Whenever he wanted to open up shop, he just flashed the trench coat to whoever was passing by. It was a very mobile business model.

You saw him on Canal Street, in Times Square, and sometimes he’d pop up when you least expected it. This guy used to be all over New York. He was such a common character, he even made it onto Sesame Street. (And in the the video below!)

Today he’s as extinct as the guys who wash your windshield at stop lights, and men laying their jackets down in puddles.

Which is why this illustration in the new issue of NY Magazine caught our eye. Dustin Summers, one half of the Heads of State design house responsible, reminisces: “Seems like they’ve been replaced by the endless supply of knock offs on folding tables… I want to believe though, that the trenchcoat henchmen are behind both of these endeavors, maybe keeping the supply chain running, funneling fake rolexes from port to card table.”

They might be gone, but their legend lives on. And the trenchcoat is still the one of the most dapper ways to stay dry.

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