Volume 78 / Number 20 - October 15 - 21, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower
East Side, Since 1933

A Villager special section
Transitions and Traditions
The Lower East Side

Villager photo by Clayton Patterson

David Rodriguez and his son, Jackson Bo Rodriquez, at Casa de Rodriguez. David is holding a hat he designed specially for Michelle Obama.

Hats what I’m sayin’: Cap shop fits well on Stanton

By Casey Samulski

Casa de Rodriguez is a hat lover’s dream. The styles on the walls are broad-ranging from new to old, funky to somber, and no two are alike.

David Rodriguez chose hats as a profession in a spell of whimsy. Studying design in Los Angeles, he had a dream about making a hat. Acting on the vision, he tried making one, his first experiment, and sold it right away.

“And then, I knew,” he explained.

He arrived in New York six years ago, shortly after 9/11. He said he lost all his wholesale business and was looking for a place to set up shop when he happened to stumble upon the space at 156 Stanton St. walking through the Lower East Side one day. Casa de Rodriguez was born.

Run by Rodriguez and his wife, Jody, Casa de Rodriguez is a true family operation. Customers who like what they see on the racks out front can get their selection tailored and fitted on the spot.

“It usually takes about 10 minutes,” said Rodriguez. Or, if nothing in the front appeals, one can order something specially made from a choice of more than 600 fabric swatches and Rodriguez will sew it up in 24 hours. Prices start at $168. He also sells his headwear to high-end stores.

Custom design is Rodriguez’s passion. On site, he showed off a bonnet-style hat he was sending to Michelle Obama.

“I’m giving her some good L.E.S. energy,” he explained, noting his pride in the diversity his neighborhood represents. “Being on the L.E.S., we wear many hats,” he said.

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