A crafter of hats.

Ali Amca (Uncle, in Turkish) knows hats better than I know anything, I’m quite sure of it. He’s been making them by hand since he was twelve years old, back when a well-made hat and a well-kept mustache were a requirement for any Turkish gentleman. A visiting Jewish man once liked Ali’s hats so much that he offered to bring him to New York City to make them for the gentlemen on Madison Avenue, but he declined the offer, sure that he’d miss hearing the call to prayer ringing out through the streets five times a day. I met Ali with his big warm smile in his dusty little hat shop while getting lost on a sunny day in an unfamiliar town. We ended up spending the afternoon sipping on tea, looking at photos of good old times and talking about the ways the world has changed. In the 63 years that Ali has been making hats one thing that hasn’t changed too much is his process..each hat stitched together one by one..or the melodic words echoing from the mosque five times a day, of which Ali Amca’s shop is in perfect hearing distance.

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