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How a Milliner Spends Her Sundays


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“The right hat is an expression of your personality,” said Linda Pagan, who owns The Hat Shop NYC. “You are never alone when you wear a hat — wearing one is like walking a dog but without all the work; people will always stop and talk to you.”

Ms. Pagan should know. Her boutique has been a SoHo mainstay for nearly three decades. Customers have included Yoko Ono, Bette Midler, Gary Oldman, Sean Combs and Tamron Hall.

Ms. Pagan has a personal collection of 60 hats that she stores in the basement of her shop. “I always wear a hat as they make me feel great, and it’s great for business. They are my business card,” she said. “Thank goodness I didn’t go into lingerie.”

The only thing Ms. Pagan, 64, who was born in England, likes more than hats is her short commute. She lives in a one-bedroom apartment two blocks away from her store. She described it as her “cottage in the city.”

SANCTUARY I have a strong circadian rhythm, so the time I wake up depends on the season: 5 a.m. at the height of summer and 7:30 a.m. in the dead of winter. I turn on WQXR and make what is the first of three pots of PG Tips tea that I sip while in bed, which is my sanctuary. It’s a captain’s bed that was built by my father, who was a naval architect.

MIND/BONE HOUSE I start the Sunday Times with my favorite sections — I finish the rest during the week — and I check the news and headlines on my phone. After puttering around a bit, I do three rounds of Surya Namaskar yoga to wake up the “old bone house,” which is an Elizabethan term for the body. I get dressed in my outfit of the day, put on my hat and head out for a walk.

SHOP HOURS Most Sundays, I’m in my shop from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. I don’t eat breakfast, and I often grab a bite, usually a tuna fish sandwich, at Three of Cups, the bistro next door.

WALKING AND TALKING I love to walk around the neighborhood because even if I’ve not made any specific plans, I generally will run into someone on the sidewalk, and we’ll have an impromptu conversation. We may later go to Il Corallo Trattoria or Local for a quick drink.

DAY OFF When the weather is warmer and I’m not working, I often catch the Rockaway ferry from Pier 11 on Wall Street to blow away all the week’s cobwebs. I eat a late lunch at the Rockaway Hotel. I’m a member of several museums, so shows can be a big part of my day. The Whitney’s “No existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria” was powerful.

CINEPHILE I go to a lot of films. I recently saw “Living” and “Tár,” which I was prepared to hate but loved, at the Angelika. Film Forum is one of my favorite places, and I recently went there to see Peter Greenaway’s “The Draughtsman’s Contract,” which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. I like the Forum because of the aesthetics, the small size and the commitment of the audience to the films. And the desserts. The carrot cake from Betty Bakery in Brooklyn is phenomenal. If they have run out of it, it’s a disaster. I always bring my own metal fork so I don’t have to use a plastic one.

BAR PERCH For dinner, I generally go to Fanelli Cafe or Arturo’s. I like to have dinner by myself, and I like to sit at the bar and eat. This gives me a chance to read some more of The New York Times and meet other people. I recently had a conversation about fencing, a sport I pursued in high school, with a young couple.

OVERHEARD The most extraordinary thing happened at Fanelli. There was a party of three sitting near me, and I heard an older woman say that she chose this restaurant because a friend of hers whose daughter has a hat shop in SoHo suggested it. I turned around and said, “That’s my dad.” As if that were not coincidence enough, it turned out that one of the men with her was her son, and we had gone to college together.

LOOK FOR THE MOON Once I get home for the night, I stream TV shows and films. “Ted Lasso,” “The White Lotus” and “Slow Horses” are among my more recent favorites. Before I go to sleep around 11 p.m., I listen to WQXR and read either The New Yorker or a book for about a half an hour. I’ve been in a book club with the same people for 30 years, and now we’re reading “The Magician” by Colm Tóibín. If the moon is out, I wait to see it. I love the idea that I’m in an urban setting and it still shines in my window.

Sunday Routine readers can follow Linda Pagan on Instagram @thehatshopnyc.


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