Roy Preston, 39
Thompson St between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts.
Mon May 17 2010
Photograph: Jay Muhlin
Is this your standard work attire? Yes, this is my work wardrobe. I run a store with a Big Lebowski theme. We're starting a new corporate culture here.
Does it involve drinking White Russians, too? No, nobody has to drink White Russians. But you do have to wear your bathrobe and pajamas.
I feel terrible for you. [Laughs] It's funny, a lot of people come in here and say, I want to be you!
So are those the pj's that you slept in? Oh, no, they're clean. I put them on to go to work in the morning. I get out of one pair of pajamas and I put on another pair.
How does one come to run a Big Lebowski store, anyway? Well, we started out as a little gift shop. The original name was Nick and Preston's Imaginarium and Gift Shop. And nobody would come into the store. On top of that, the economy collapsed and Washington Square Park was being renovated, so this was a total dead zone. One day, I put these Big Lebowski shirts in the store as a joke. Turns out they were the only thing that sold consistently.
Good to know people are spending their money wisely in a bad economy. [Laughs] Yes, they're spending their money on shirts that say NOBODY FUCKS WITH THE JESUS. So I thought, I might as well just deck the whole place out in the theme and wear my bathrobe all day, since really that's all I have left anyway. [Laughs] And the rest is history.
More from Roy
"Before I opened this shop, I had my own publishing company. My business partner and I were writing and illustrating children's books. We had one that was about a monster who was afraid of boys; we had another about a woman and her dog who swapped places for a day. They're still on Amazon."
"A lot of my customers are French, Italian... Somebody came to the store in December, went back to Italy and told his friend, so his friend hopped on a plane and came here looking for the store."
"When I was a little boy, I was obsessed with monsters. My mother told me that I could not watch monster movies, and I thought that was ridiculous because my older brother and my cousin were much scarier than any of the monsters I ever saw in the movies. They used to terrorize me. We would go out crabbing, and they used to tell me stories about people who had fallen overboard and drowned but had come back to life as zombies, and were waiting in the water to get little boys who fell overboard."