Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New in New York: Alexander Berardi Brings Springtime to Soho

Jack the Rabbit is an attraction at the New in new York Alex Berardi boutique.

By Mitch Broder

When you see the crowds gathering outside the Alexander Berardi boutique, you figure that either Berardi makes swell clothes or else he has bunnies hopping in the window.

Fashion lovers will take a second look at the New in New York Alex Berardi boutique in SohoWell, he does. Make swell clothes. And have bunnies hopping in the window. But he’s the first to accept that the crowds are drawn less by the clothes than by the bunnies.

Alexander Berardi is a rising star in fashion. The bunnies are rising stars in downtown window dressing. They are Jack and Miss Cooper, Holland lops, and lately each has been appearing separately. But alone or together they bring a warm wink to Soho, a place that could use more than one.

They live in a 3-by-4-foot pen with glass walls and fake grass, which they share with two headless models wearing the clothes that pay their rent. Throughout the day they get fresh vegetables, water, Sunaturals Timothy Hay, and more attention than a fashion star gets no matter how high he rises.

Their attention comes mostly from people, but their most dedicated admirer is an off-white, wiry labradoodle by the name of Rubio. He shows up each weekday at 4:15, plants himself in front of the window, and stares at the rabbit du jour for fifteen minutes straight.

Animals and animal lovers alike will stop at Alex Berardi boutique to see the New in New York live bunny display
All the photos are of Jack. This one is also of Rubio.

“It’s like Rubio’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’” said his walker, Wonderly White. “Honestly, he’s in love. That’s all I can say. He wishes no ill will to the bunny. He just wants to make friends and play, but rabbits don’t play with dogs. It’s an unrequited love. But he keeps hoping.”

Kids get hands on with the bunnies at Alexander Berardi's Boutique that is New in New YorkLess tragically, the rabbits are admired by myriad little girls, many of whom bounce in to do what Rubio can only dream of. Two eight-year-olds arrived on their way home from school with a woman named Michelle Jassem. Michelle noted: “I’ve never bought anything here. We just come to visit the bunnies.”

Alexander Berardi had rabbits before he had a store. So he decided to create a store that was designed to accommodate rabbits. “I just thought it would be a good idea to bring them to work,” he told me. “Otherwise they’d be home alone all day. They’re our store sidekicks.”

Rabbit duty is shared by Christopher Kulukundis, the store manager, who appears to know as much about rabbits as he does about ready-to-wear. He gives them Brussels sprouts, broccoli, arugula, and carrots, along with the hay for their teeth, and regularly vacuums up the tangible evidence with a Dustbuster.

The bunnies not the clothes are the main attraction at Alexander Berardi's Boutique in New York City
Originally, Jack and Miss Cooper shared the window, Christopher said. “They were inseparable. They would sleep on top of each other and clean each other.” But they took to quarreling, so now they take turns at the store, while undergoing marital counseling in the privacy of their home.

Some fans are disturbed by this. On a recent Jack day, a little girl worried that Miss Cooper might need her. “You get some characters,” Christopher said. “I’ve had some people come in just to sing to the bunnies. One woman couldn’t get Jack out of her mind and wrote him a pop song.”

So far, it’s hard to tell whether the rabbits are selling any clothes. But Alexander and Christopher foresee a payoff from those little girls.

“We have a joke,” Christopher said. “We’re going to be the most popular New York fashion line for Prom Night 2020.”

Jack The Bunny draws in crowds at the New in New York Alexander Berardi Boutique

Look into Alexander Berardi, 174 Prince Street, near Sullivan Street, in New York City.



  2. Hey Mitch,
    Do you (or does anyone) know how to send this story to Brian Williams? He would put it on his NBC Nightly News segment "MAKING A DIFFERENCE." Your story put a smile on my face. Keep it coming Mitch. It feels like Spring is here! Peter

  3. What a great piece! Love the picture of the bunny and dog on the other side of the window. Yet another great find. Thanks Mitch!

  4. Mitch...This makes me want to order rabbit for dinner! Well done. (Tastes like chicken)

  5. So, there are a million things I could say about this post, but what I am going to rave about is that last shot. Not only is the bunny absolutely adorable, but it is an awesome photo. An award winner. Who knew a rabbit's face could be so expressive and draw such emotion from the viewer? An incredible photograph.

  6. Agree, Jen...but Rubio gazing at the bunny is priceless!

  7. I LOVE this idea! Those cute little guys would certainly draw me into the store!;-)