Sunday, May 3, 2009

Finding kindred spirits in the Big Apple

You can't get much further from hunting culture than New York City, can you?

Maybe, maybe not. Boyfriend and I are in the city this weekend for the James Beard Awards, and one of our first stops yesterday was the swankiest gun store I've ever seen: the Beretta Gallery on the Upper East Side.

I'd read about the store in the New York Times last summer, and when Andrew at the Regal Vizsla found out we'd be coming to town, he suggested that we check it out.

It was quite the experience. While the store carries plebeian versions of shotguns, such as my trusty Beretta Urika AL391 (retail: $1,000 or so), its specialty is the high-end firearm.

I don't know that I can be trusted to describe them accurately, but this is what I remember: gorgeous burled walnut stocks, sidelock trigger mechanisms and microscopic engraving that forced me to break out my reading glasses so I could fully appreciate it.

But really, all I need to say is that in the space of five minutes or so, Boyfriend and I had handled a few guns that, combined, were worth more than our house. There was one 28 gauge quail gun - lovely! - that went for $120,000.

The sad thing is that buying and owning a gun in New York City is a complex process - permits, registrations, the works. If you think California's 10-day waiting period is bad, try New York City, where you can easily wait four months for all the paperwork to go through so you can get your gun.

Good thing I wasn't in the market for a new shotgun, right?

Of course, I couldn't visit the place without buying something, so after looking around at lovely women's safari shirts ($145), and a serving platter rimmed with silver stags ($500), I finally found something I could afford.

A hat.

© Holly A. Heyser 2009


Albert A Rasch said...


You should try to get to the Holland & Holland showroom if you have the time.

Holland & Holland
10 East 40th Street
Suite 1910
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 752-7755

Fudge! They're only open Monday through Friday...

Well, call anyway, you might get lucky!

I don't know if "Clyde's" is still open down in the village, but they made the best burgers known to mankind.

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

Holly Heyser said...

Oh, we're here tomorrow too, but we're pretty booked. And food, of course, is not a problem - there is much wining and dining going on...

Julian Schmechel said...


Hey well done. You got to the Beretta gallery!!.
The 28 bore sounds amazing. Did you find that it kinda stuck to your hand?.

Have fun.


Blessed said...

that does sound like a neat place to visit! And to think... last week, hubby and I walked into a gun shop, wrote a check and left with a new sub-compact pistol. I think we waited 15 minutes for the background check to go through. Every time we go to Cabela's I end up salivating over a few of the really nice shotguns and rifles they have in their "gun library" firearms that are clearly out of my price range but are beautiful to look at and handle!

Anonymous said...

"You can't get much further from hunting culture than New York City, can you?"

Funny! That's WHY I've always been amused by the fact that the "Big 3" outdoor magazines, Field & Stream, Sports Afield, and Outdoor Life are all headquartered IN NYC!

Your visit to the Berreta Showroom reminds me of my boyhood trips to San Francisco (from Stockton) where we'd visit the "real" Eddie Bauer store and I'd lust after cased sets of Browning Superposeds and over to the "real" Abercrombie & Fitch and do the same over their own house brand of Side by Sides.

If you think Beretta puts on a good show (and they do), next time you're at the SHOT Show, check out Perazzi's display. It's not to be outdone!

Bill C.-Orygun

sportingdays said...

How fun to visit the Beretta shop in NYC! My Beretta o/u 28 gauge is my all-time favorite shotgun that I use for a good part of my hunting and shooting (of course, I have a very pedestrian, over-the-counter model, but I still love it.)

Every time I visit a new place -- whether it's a big city, small town, overseas destination, etc. -- I always make a game of trying to spot some signs of "the sporting life" -- hunting, fishing, the related culture, etc. And I can almost always find something without even looking very hard, which always impresses upon me the universality of hunting and fishing across the world, among different cultures and even classes of folks.

Hey, they're sport fishing right now in the Arno River near the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy, just as somebody is trying for stripers off the commercial Port of Oakland, Calif.

Hey, Bill. As teenage kids growing up in the East Bay, we used to take BART into San Francisco to visit the old Orvis store on Maiden Lane and the old Eddie Bauer store up the street in San Francisco.

We could never afford much in either store, but we would spend hours there hanging out, reading the books, talking fishing and hunting, checking out the fly selections and all the gear. So those were wonderful outposts for city kids that fueled dreams of outdoor adventure.

A little bit disappointing to visit those stores today as they have become primarily clothing and gift shops.

gary said...

Any ponds in the cloverleafs of the freeways with a few greenheads bobbing in?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a nice time. Can't wait to hear what happened at the awards.

SimplyOutdoors said...

I am very curious to know what it feels like to hold a $28,000 shotgun. I'm jealous!

Holly Heyser said...

Gary, we did see greenheads in Central Park, but they weren't very fat. Must be worn out from chasing hens (and losing).

Holding those guns was really fun, because I'm 99% sure I'll never own one. If I had $30G to spare, I'm pretty sure there's other stuff it would go to.

As for the awards: Hank did not win; a food blog from Sunset Magazine did. It was a group of bloggers and they sat at our table Sunday night for the awards, and they were really nice. I'll even have a blog post to write about one of them. But for now, I've got to catch a plane...

Helen "Philippines Information Technology" Carry said...

Did you that suits you?
Well, congratulations!