Itâ€™s the New Year, time to look back and look forward. Having recently turned 40 IÂ felt a surge of wisdom (not necessarily earned), and thought it the right time to setÂ down some advice for the kids out there. I look forward to crossing paths with theÂ enlightened twenty-somethings of New Yorkâ€”as long as theyâ€™re not wearingÂ sneakers.
1/ The sooner youâ€™re comfortable dressing up the better.
2/ If your friends arenâ€™t surprised by one of your interests then youâ€™re tooÂ predictable.
3/ If youâ€™re not already, become friends with a painter.
4/ Know enough about wine that youâ€™re comfortable speaking to a sommelier.
5/ If you canâ€™t drive a stick shift youâ€™ll regret it at the most inopportune time.
6/ Donâ€™t frequent strip clubs, but be prepared to visit them at the right time.
7/ If youâ€™re not reading Anthony Lane youâ€™re missing out on one of lifeâ€™s greatÂ pleasures.
8/ If youâ€™re useful in the kitchen it will pay off regularly.
9/ Pay for her cab home.
10/ Donâ€™t be afraid of subtitles: Be familiar with The Conformist, Ran, Le MeprisÂ and Amarcord.
11/ Thatâ€™s not a baseball hat is it?
12/ The best articles in the New York Times are in the Business Section. Also: MichaelÂ Powell on sports, Eric Asimov on wine, Pete Wells on food, Maureen Dowd onÂ how the world works.
13/ Never wear a sporting uniform in public.
14/ If you like a bar or restaurant learn as many peopleâ€™s names there as youÂ can.
15/ If you can afford a cleaning lady hire one.
16/ Women will judge your sheets, towels and furniture. And rightly so.
17/ Donâ€™t eat meat for two weeks.
18/ Nobody is your bro.
19/ If thereâ€™s a line outside and youâ€™re not confident, think twice.
20/Â Become a member of the Frick Collection and theÂ Morgan Library.
21/ Have breakfast with a friend once a week.
22/ You already know you should look at your phone less.
23/ Youâ€™ll be surprised how much you can learn from Jane Austen, Henry James,Â Tolstoy and Melville.
24/ Try not buy anything that advertises on television.
25/ Go to India before youâ€™re twenty five.
26/ Unless youâ€™re hiking at altitude, donâ€™t wear a backpack in public.
27/ Tip bartenders in cash.
28/ Seek the advice of a man who works in a good menâ€™s store, even if you canâ€™tÂ afford to shop there. Theyâ€™ll be more helpful than you realize.
29/ No pink cocktails.
30/ Ask your grandfather what his life was like 50 years ago, and donâ€™t interruptÂ him.
31/ If your watch impresses people then youâ€™re impressing the wrong people.
32/ You donâ€™t visit your local greenmarket?
33/ If you donâ€™t cook then Mark Bittmanâ€™s Minimalist recipes are a great place toÂ start. (Theyâ€™re all online.)
34/ Youâ€™ll never regret being a regular.
35/ Have a pet cause and donate to it, even if itâ€™s only $25 a year.
36/ Not white or black socks in public, unless youâ€™re playing tennis or attending aÂ funeral.
37/ If your cocktail arrives with a straw in it you may have made a mistake.
38/ Go to the Mercury Lounge once a year, even if you donâ€™t know the band.Â Same for the Metropolitan Opera (there are cheap tickets)â€”start with Puccini ofÂ Mozart if youâ€™re not sure.
39/Â Know a good place to drink 15 minutes from whereverÂ you are.
40/ Have a calling card youâ€™re proud of, your name and number are enough.
41/ No woman will ever be impressed by your sneakers. And she will be correct.
42/ Get to know Chuck Klosterman and Jason Gay.
43/ Peter Lugerâ€™s is great for lunch. So is the 21 Club. Wear your best and actÂ like you belong. Everybody was a rookie at one point.
44/ Have a friend whoâ€™s twenty years older than you.
45/ If youâ€™re grateful for the education you received then give money to thatÂ school. If youâ€™re not, then give money to an educational cause you support.
46/ You donâ€™t write thank you notes?
47/ Bring a bottle to every partyâ€”and not cheap wine from the nearest store. IfÂ youâ€™re not confident choosing the wine then bring cold champagne.
48/ Get familiar with a liquor store staff. That means Chamber StreetÂ Wines, Appellation Wines, Thirst Wine Merchants or Astor Place Wines, amongÂ others. Have them send you a mixed case with tasting notes on what theyâ€™veÂ chosen. Itâ€™s as good an education as there is.
49/ Film Forum is one of New Yorkâ€™s great resources. Become a member andÂ donâ€™t be afraid of seeing anything they show.
50/ If you want to bet on sports then do so, but avoid fantasy football if possible.Â It messes with your allegiances.
51/ Always watch the State of the Union, regardless of your politics.
52/ You donâ€™t know anything about the Civil War?
53/ Start building your library now.
54/ Two posts a day on Instagram are enough.
55/ At some point you can break just about any rule of dressing, but square-toedÂ shoes are never right.
56/ Research tailors in your area and aspire to visit the one thatâ€™s right for you.Â Start with a versatile sport coat if you canâ€™t afford a suit. And take their advice,Â this is their livelihood.
57/ When in doubt wear straightforward, classic clothes. Donâ€™t try to reinventÂ anything. If Fred Astaire wouldnâ€™t recognize it then be wary. You donâ€™t want toÂ look like a Bond villain or a Russian military attachÃ©.
58/ Donâ€™t bet on college basketball based on anything Charles Barkley says. OrÂ pro basketball, for that matter.
59/ A martini is made with gin, stirred, and served very cold with a twist ofÂ lemon. Start there before experimenting.
60/ Donâ€™t rent clothes.