Nylon Nights

A Sopranos Themed Party, Complete with Cigar-Rolling and Gabagool

Tombolo’s new Sopranos collab kicked off with a street party at The Mulberry.

by Tim Latterner

You could smell this party from two blocks away. Walking down Mulberry Street at 9:30pm typically entails scents from the perfume stores on Elizabeth Street or getting wafts of dishes from outdoor dining at Balthazar, Gitane, Rintintin, or Lovely Day. Last night though, the thick smell of cigar smoke pulled me toward this party like a tractor beam. I was headed to The Mulberry, where fashion-forward cabana shirt brand Tombolo is celebrating their new collab with The Sopranos, the TV show that championed the cabana shirt.

I started to hear the party as I got closer. For the first warm night of the summer season, the crowd had spilled out onto Mulberry Street. It was the usual group for Nolita: younger, attractive people dressed up for a thing, even when that means dressing down for the sake of it.

Being a summer wear, or “escapewear” (as they call it) brand, it’s only natural that a Tombolo party would bring out a group ready for warm nights and fashionable looks. SNL’s Heidi Gardner breezed through the party with a group of friends. Danny Mondello passed through shaking his wrist at fans in one of the Sartiale’s shirts. Arianna Margulis mingled with friends outside over drinks. A man in what looked like bell bottoms and an open shirt looked like if Kelso from That ‘70s Show did a Prada ad. Plenty of men had mustaches and camp collar shirts. Plenty of women looked like they’re ready to trade their Saturday-night-in-Manhattan leather skirts for Hamptons-season linens.

Pretty soon, the smell becomes clear, there’s a booth set up with an old man hand-rolling cigars for people. Next to him, people in undershirt tank tops are pulling from a box of cigarettes and smoking away. I know we’re at a cigar bar, but it’s weird to see this group smoking so freely without a vape in sight. I’ve never been a smoker, so once inside, it’s the food that comes around that immediately sells me. There’s a table full of gabagool on skewers, fried raviolis, and skewers of tomato and mozzarella. There’s also a mass of people stacked three deep at the bar waiting for beers and vodka sodas.

Past the crowd at the bar, there’s a clearing where a stripper pole has been erected and two dancers trading off shifts spinning slowly around it. They’re not so much attracting a crowd as strippers as they are as Sopranos-like additions to the party. Nobody’s leaving dollar bills on the platform, but plenty of people smile and gesture at the situation saying, “Oh, like the Bada Bing!”

Behind the strippers is a glass case that usually holds boxes of cigars, but has been cleared out to put the collection from Tombolo. The collection has a colorful cross-blend of both brands. There’s terry cloth Bada Bing! Cabana shirts with matching shorts, a Satriale’s button up in two colorways, a robe with ducks on it, and Sopranos logo hats and shirts, among other pieces. Mike Sard and Chris Galasso, the cofounders, was greeting guests, shaking hands, and sporting the collection’s “Fowl Play” tank top under a black blazer.

By the end of the night, the fried raviolis are swept up, the two older security guards are smiling ear to ear dancing with a couple of the young women at the party, and through the haze of cigar smoke, everyone starts looking like they were a genuine Sopranos character. If there were name tags, each one would say Vincent Michael or Gianna Maria or some other name that screams New Jersey in the late 90s. And as someone who came out of New Jersey in the late 90s — a mere 15 minute drive from Satin Dolls (the IRL Bada Bing) — I can say that with confidence.

Emilio VitoloBFA
Danny MondoloBFA
Ajani Russell and Chenoa JadeBFA
Heidi GardnerBFA
The scene at The Mulberry.BFA
The scene at The Mulberry.