The Beginning..

So we started a T-Shirt company.  I’m sure most of you that are reading this know we did.  And by we, I mean my partner Jarod and I. It all started out as a pipe dream really. I’d say about 9 years ago, there was another t-shirt brand at the time.  Without revealing their name, the best way to describe them would be that their designs are based off paying “homage” to their town/state sports teams. As they grew in popularity, they branched off to other cities and other sports.  From the very beginning though, I always thought that was the coolest thing to do. To have a company that was local and more importantly personal to you and share it with the world. I wanted to do something like that.

The original iteration of Playground Gotham evolved over the years.  There were times I put the idea on the backburner. Waiting for the right time to really put pen to paper and have the designs printed.  The original ideas, as good as I thought they were, weren’t personal to me the way they should be. So I kept holding back.

The dream died a bit. It stayed in the back of my head for a long time.  Years went by. I would talk about it with friends, ask them their thoughts, listen to feedback and tuck away that idea in the back of my mind again.  I had many people be supportive, most be indifferent, even had some tell me to flat out it was a dumb idea, as there were already too many t-shirt companies like that.  This went on for years it seemed like. For every bit of excitement I had from thinking of a new idea, there was double that amount in fear of failure. But it always stayed in my head, acting like an open wound that would fester and ooze pus if you didn’t take care of it.  I just had to find a way to figure it out.

Finally, Jarod (my future business partner), said to me that I should really look back at the idea and just go for it already.  I let those words sink in for a bit. I’ve always been one to be quick to jump for something but be even quicker to quit once I stumbled.  This time, if I really was going to do it, I wanted to do it right. And this was pretty much the beginning of Playground Gotham. The name was always there but there was still nothing behind it.  Jarod finally pushed me to get the logo done. “Get the logo done, see what it looks like on paper, on your computer and go from there”. So that’s what I did...I commissioned a logo to be done based on some ideas I had.  

And that’s where it clicked.  I remember waiting at the bus stop for school, always looking down and noticing the manhole cover.  I always thought they looked so cool, this big, circular piece of metal that literally was driven over every second of the day.  I also remembered the old subway tokens. This was before the MetroCard existed. Google the subway tokens and you’ll see, they had such a distinct look.  Playground Gotham, the logo, is my homage to those pieces of my memory. That is what the brand would be based on.

Being born and raised in NYC, working there when I was older, I really wanted to pay tribute to my city.  It was the city that brought my dad here from Greece. It was where he met my mom. I have so many vivid and stark memories growing up in Flushing, that they still seem so fresh and real now as they did back then.  If I really wanted to pursue this, I’d have to find a way to channel that personal connection to NYC that I had and find a way to bring it to life.

But this journey isn’t about me or my memories.  That’s only part of it. Playground Gotham is about our community as well.  What resonated with me might not resonate with someone else. As we grow and evolve, what we design and print will change.  We promise to stay true to our roots but always be open to venturing outside our established comfort zones. Will we always design our prints based around NYC?  Probably not. But it is where our foundation is. After all...this is your playground too.