So last week, as you saw if you follow me on Instagram, I went to New York for the launch of Jack Carlson’s book, “Rowing Blazers“. I received an invitation back in early August and decided pretty much immediately that I was going because … how often do you get an opportunity like this?
The party was held in Midtown at the Ralph Lauren Polo flagship store on 55th and 5th Ave. and, despite the space feeling unbearably small at the time given the number of people that were there, I don’t know if they could have chosen a better place to host this crowd. Throw in some beer and cocktails (Pimms, of course), lobster rolls, and a live band and you’ve pretty much got the Henley Royal Regatta crammed into 30,000 square feet. Everyone who owns a blazer was wearing it (I get the impression they don’t get to take them out of their closets too often…) so it was neat to actually be able to see them with all their aggressively bold colors and patterns in person. I wish I could have gotten more pictures of the overall atmosphere but being 4’11” at a party where the average height was probably around 6’3″ made that kinda impossible.
Related: A History of the Rowing Blazer
The book itself is actually pretty cool although I’ll admit I was (very) skeptical at first. What sold me on it was the stories alongside the photos that discuss the history of that club’s blazer, where the colors and design came from, what the various embroidered emblems mean, etc. I’m a total sucker for stuff like that so after reading through several pages of the book while on the subway I was hooked.
One of the things that really interested me was the introduction where Jack (a former BB&N and Georgetown coxswain) goes into the sartorial history of “the boating jacket” and how its origins as part of a rower’s uniform, “to help keep [them] warm during chilly training sessions on the River Cam and on the Isis in Oxford”, have become what we and all the men in our lives now know as the “blazer”.
One of the highlights of the night for me was getting to meet Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, both of whom co-hosted the party with Jack. Not only did I want to get a picture with them because, let’s be honest, the height difference is amusing, but I also really wanted to know their thoughts on the writers of “The Social Network” having Armie Hammer say “we row crew“. They both chuckled and said exactly what I think we were all thinking when we heard that line – “It’s just not what rowers say!”. They were great to talk to though and I appreciated getting to spend a few minutes with them.