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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Behind the scenes—Howard Tynes, Security of a different stripe

By David Hsieh

Security guards often wear dark suits, conservative ties, and dark sunglasses. But that’s not Howard Tynes’ style. A BAM security guard for the past 10 years, he is known—especially to Fisher building audiences—for his distinctive and nifty garb: freshly pressed suits in all colors and materials, and always with bowties and pocket squares. Anyone who has seen him would not be surprised to learn that he had a career in fashion. More unexpected is his career on the baseball field. Howard Tynes tells us how his three passions intersect.

What was your life like before BAM?
I grew up in the Dominican Republic, where I played professional baseball. In the 1960s I moved to Brooklyn and played in the first Jackie Robinson League. The team was called No Name because our parents didn’t have money to buy uniforms and put our names on them.

Did you like fashion then?
I had an interest in fashion early on. There is a photo of me at seven years old with a fancy sports jacket with a boutonniere. At the age of eight I started to put together my own outfit together. I would say “this goes with that, this color goes with that” to my parents and they would look at me with suspicion, but then it would turn out to be good.

I always want to be the star, off the field and on. Every city I traveled to with the team, I tried to find time to shop. Everyone started to notice my flair for dressing. I didn’t feel dressed unless I had a nice suit on, beautiful shoes, matching socks, handkerchiefs, and a boutonniere.

Where do you get your fashion sense?
My fashion idols are Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, and Douglas Fairbank Jr. They know how to dress. I would be watching the Hollywood movies and say, “I want to look like that.” Hollywood had a certain flair and glamour at that time. The way they dressed, talked, and walked… you can’t find comparisons today.

How did you come to BAM?
After I stopped playing I worked at the Giorgio Armani store on Madison Avenue. I was put in the 2002 Barney’s catalogue. I was selling clothes to high-end clients. I dressed many celebrities—Brad Pitt, Luther Vandross, Chris Rock, the entire Matrix cast, Frank Langella, who I would meet again when he came to BAM to do King Lear in 2014.

I lived in Park Slope and I would come to BAM for movies. I knew this was a very creative place and I wanted to work here.

Photo: Howard Tynes (right) was a model in a Barney’s catalogue.

Why do you like to dress up?
Dressing is an art. When you’re dressing yourself, it’s exercising your creative power. It’s a great feeling inside. When you wake up in the morning, you pick out your garment, you wear that garment, and you feel good about yourself—it takes your day to another level. People should find their own style and not let magazines dictate what you wear.

Why do you prefer bowties?
I own about 40 suits, 80 shirts, and 80 bowties. I’m fond of bowties. It stands out more than a regular tie. The time it takes in the morning to tie a piece of cloth into a bow tie, it’s an art. It shows you put time and love into it.

David Hsieh is a publicity manager at BAM.

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