Save the turtle(neck)s!
by Jack Archambault
How hard do you think it would be to find a yellow turtleneck? Whatever you think the answer is, I’m here to tell you that it’s much, much harder.
For Halloween this year, my friend Keith had the idea to dress up as Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) from Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.
“I’ll be Brad Pitt,” Keith said to me this past Wednesday when I ran into him leaving the library. “I found a Hawaiian shirt on Amazon Prime. I can get it in two days.”
“Keith,” I said, “aren’t you worried about contributing to the congestion of New York City’s already overcrowded streets?”
Fine, I didn’t say that. But I did go do my research to see what I would need for my Leo DiCaprio costume.
I found these two pictures:
Just so it’s clear, I need to find a brown leather jacket, a silver chain, and a yellow turtleneck by Thursday. Keith, meanwhile, just needs to dress like someone’s uncle who watches NASCAR and pours Bud Light in his Cheerios.
In all fairness to Keith, he gave me multiple opportunities to back out of this costume, but I couldn’t be swayed. I just didn’t think it would be this damn hard to find a yellow turtleneck.
My quest began Friday afternoon at TJ Maxx. It then took me to Macy’s Backstage, which was followed by a trip to Burlington Coat Factory (where I did find a brown, faux leather jacket), Cee and Cee Department Store, and a store called Manus. (Yes, there is a store on Fordham Road called M Anus.) None of these stores, however, sold yellow turtlenecks. I’m no stranger to looking for clothing for hours without ever finding it – I spent two hours this February just trying to find boxers – but this time it wasn’t just my costume on the line. So, I texted Keith and did what I should have done from the start – I asked him to order a yellow turtleneck on Amazon Prime.
Alas, even with the advantages of Prime next-day delivery, next day in this case meant November 5th. It looked like I would have to find the turtleneck on my own.
* * * * *
Saturday morning, I woke up and clogged the toilet. When the plumber came by to fix it, my roommate Brian asked what we could do so it wouldn’t get clogged anymore (it’s gotten clogged 15 to 20 times in the past month, and I promise that’s not an exaggeration). His advice, said with a straight face, was, “Probably stop using toilet paper.” So, while I set out to continue searching for a yellow turtleneck, I was also thinking about how I’m going to have to wipe, put the toilet paper in a bag, and then throw the bag out from now on.
Regardless of the state of our bathroom, before getting on the subway to go into Manhattan I decided to take one last look around Fordham Road. Both Modell’ses had turtlenecks, but only in white and blue. The other Cee and Cee had no turtlenecks, but there was a lady outside selling baby turtles from a cardboard box. In Urban Classic, the sales associate informed me that they don’t sell turtlenecks, “But,” and she lowered her voice, “you can check around the corner.”
Well, “around the corner” apparently refers to an unnamed store on Creston Ave. that has a sign out front that says “99¢ Discount”. It’s not clear whether that means the discount is 99 cents or if items cost 99 cents after the discount, but I think it might be neither because all the clothes there cost either $20 or $40. When you walk into the store, clothes are packed wall-to-wall while four people – who I guess can be loosely defined as security – sit on top of ladders and watch the shoppers like vultures. The whole thing felt vaguely illegal, but more importantly, they didn’t have any yellow turtlenecks.
Forced to make the trip to Manhattan, I decided to begin my search at Macy’s on 34th Street. Surely, if I could find a yellow turtleneck anywhere, it would be in the largest store in the United States. Well, by now you probably know where this is going. It turns out that in 1.25 million square feet of retail space, Macy’s has everything except the one thing you’re looking for.
I searched in H&M. Nothing. Ditto for K-Mart and Target. I walked by a Forever 21 and thought about looking in their unisex section, upstairs. Finally, just as I was about to give up, I looked in Old Navy.
Unsurprisingly, there were no men’s turtlenecks. Swallowing my pride, I looked in the women’s section. There were no women’s turtlenecks either.
But then I had a thought. When I was younger, I wore a lot of turtlenecks. Throw in the bowl cut I rocked all the way until high school, and I looked like I belonged on the cover of With the Beatles. I also know that my mom bought a lot of my clothes at Old Navy. So, maybe I was wasting my time looking in the men’s section. What if all the turtlenecks are in the kids’ section?
I dodged a few suspicious looks as I climbed the stairs to the third floor and began perusing the racks of toddlers’ clothing. It didn’t take much searching before I found it. Near the window, basking in the glow of a crisp October afternoon, was a table laden with turtlenecks of every color – even yellow. I approached the table like Lewis and Clark laying eyes on the mighty Pacific. I had discovered the turtlenecks, and the babies had been hiding them the whole time.
Still, I’ve been having trouble fitting into my old clothes lately, specifically those from my preschool days, and discovering a cache of turtlenecks doesn’t do me much good if the largest size is a 5T.
So, I didn’t find any yellow turtlenecks, at least any that I can wear without it being weird. I still have three days left to figure this out, so I’ll leave with this: if anyone knows where I can find a yellow turtleneck in New York, let me know. And while I’m asking for stuff, I’d also love the name of a good plumber.