Barneys: The Only Store Of Its Kind

Barneys: The Only Store Of Its Kind

Our Dearest Robyn,

Back when radio was the only broadcast medium, and Grandma and I were in our teens in the late 1930s and early ‘40s, we used to hear the commercials for the original Barneys New York store all the time. Coolidge came to office the same year it opened, and at the time, the 30th President embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class. He seemed to interpret their longings and express their opinions, and the fact that he represented the genius of the average was the most convincing proof of his strength. We felt understood by our national leader, and were given the same impression by our favorite retailer. 

I was familiar with Barneys because, as it happens, my mother and father took me to Barneys New York to buy me dress clothes for special family events. So, when it came time for me to start to outfit myself to join the business community soon after marrying your grandmother, we naturally went to Barneys New York, where we knew the kind of quality we would find at the prices we could afford as newlyweds. Even after moving uptown, they have since maintained their reputation for excellence.

We know how much time and attention you have devoted to learning how best to develop your fashion sense, and all the hours and days you have spent to keep yourself healthy. Therefore, you should really know that sometimes certain proclivities are passed down through the generations. Two of your great-great grandfathers, on both sides of my family, were “Schneiders.” In other words, they were tailors. Grandpa Weinstein (my mother’s father) ran the clothing manufacturing facility of a major men’s clothing chain and Grandpa Unger (my father’s father) had his own tailor shop for years and years in Whitestone and Flushing, parts of New York City. Fashion is in your genes.

Returning to your devotion to make sure you were always in the greatest physical shape possible, you started early – very early. When you were less than 5 years old you insisted, as only a 5 year old can, that I take you to the local schoolyard to teach you how to ride a two-wheeler. Many times after that we would again go to the schoolyard so you could show me your prowess in balance and speed. You were very athletic growing up and were always busy, which runs on your dad’s side of the family, as your grandmother was an Olympic diver. Throughout your childhood and teenage years, you participated in everything from gymnastics, to dance, to tennis to track, continually cultivating your mind-body balance.

Your Grandmother always tells the story, which is so typical then and now, of when you took her on a shopping excursion to stores in SoHo in the early ‘90s. This was a walking tour of dozens of stores from Antique Boutique, to Anna Sui to Bagutta. Grandma found herself running to catch you a half a block or more ahead of her as you bounced in and out of stores on your travel route. How typical!

After graduating college, you were always on a very thought-out path. You have been goal-oriented all your life, which has led to your success in the fashion industry--and who you are inside and out. While coordinating events during Fashion Week in New York and traveling to Los Angeles, London, and Paris, you were once again bouncing around, this time building yourself a reputation as an accomplisher. 

After watching you quit your life as you once new it to be and start a new one, your grandmother and I have been so proud to see you grow and intertwine your passion for wellness and luxury lifestyle. We have witnessed you build your branding company and launch your website and clothing line, all stemming from an inspiring trip to Bali. Sometimes it’s important to create that space and breathe, trusting that everything else will then fall into place. It has been unbelievably exciting to see how you have developed into a successful woman, and now we brag to all our friends that Robyn Berkley is our granddaughter who brought Live The Process to Barneys New York first. Life has now come full-circle; I guess it’s all part of the process.

With our love and respect for all that you have accomplished,

Grandma and Grandpa


-- Herbert Unger. Herbert Unger was born in Flushing Queens, New York in 1924. Over the decades he worked in the finance sector, construction, and chemical manufacturing, but spent the majority of his career in energy conservation for over thirty years before retiring in 2013. He now resides in New Jersey with his wife of 67 years, Judith, and spends his time voraciously reading over 200 books per year, playing Bridge and Poker and staying in contact with their two daughters and four granddaughters.

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