1. Signed Vision Agent Orange skate deck
This sums up three of my favorite things in one chunk of 7-ply Canadian Maple—punk rock, skateboarding, and graphic design. I picked this up at a skate shop in 1986 and had it signed by all three original members, Mike, James, and Scott, a couple years later at one of their shows. I love that in an era dominated by skulls, snakes, and dragons, this deck went for a more typographic approach—screaming the band’s name in big black and white letterforms over a tornado of neon pink and yellow spin-art. It’s definitely over-the-top ’80s but It’s become a feverishly sought-after classic in the skateboard collectible world.
2. 1960’s Hamilton self-winding watch
I know a lot of people collect vintage watches but I only have one, and I wear it every single day. I got this design gem at a flea market a few weeks after I moved to New York City in 1994 and it’s become a sort of a lucky charm for me. It has a round metallic blue face baring no numerals with bright orange-red hands surrounded by an oval silver casing. It’s a perfect combination of retro charm and classic minimalist design. I’ve seen tons of vintage Hamiltons at shops and online, but in the 20 years of wearing this thing on my left wrist, I’ve never come across another one like it.
3. Fred Troller’s American Airlines signed posters
I have original posters from all of my favourite graphic designers hanging on the walls of my home—Paul Rand, Armin Hofmann, Emil Ruder, Lester Beall, and Josef Müller-Brockmann. But my favorites are the two designed by Fred Troller for American Airlines in 1969. Fred was my design instructor for three years at the School of Art & Design at Alfred University. He was a brilliant Swiss designer from the old-school—everything I know about graphic design began with Fred. A few years after I graduated, Fred invited me up to his home and design studio in Rye, New York. He was kind enough to sign these two graphic design classics to and for me. If the place ever caught fire, these are the two things I’d grab off the walls.
4. Corner Bistro Cheeseburger
In a city with some of the greatest restaurants in the world, every place seems to have their signature burger these days. But to me, there is none better than Corner Bistro’s cheeseburger. Sure, others are richer, bigger, more refined or complex, but nothing beats the simplicity and taste of this beef orb. Whenever I come back from a vacation overseas, the first thing I do after dropping my bags off is walk across the street to Corner Bistro and order one up. It’s the only way I know I’m truly home.
5. The Replacements Let it Be album
My favourite album from my all-time favourite band. My favorite song on it? It’s a tough call with a disc this good but since we’re on the subject, I’m gonna go with Favourite Thing.