TWO WEEKS AGO WE TOOK THE 6 TRAIN up from SoHo to Grand Central to stop by Alden’s shop on Madison Avenue. Typically, ascending into Grand Central’s iconic lobby and the heart of Midtown, you’ll be swept into the massive crowd. But since the pandemic virtually brought the nonstop rush of commuters and tourists to a standstill, Grand Central and its surrounding blocks are strangely quiet.

Still, despite the thinned crowds, there is a certain timelessness on Madison. And when you step foot into the Alden shop at the corner of 44th Street, you’ll get a slice of that timeless New York charm. Curtis Bosch, who’s in charge of the shop, has ensured that no matter how much the old Manhattan may fade from memory, the Madison shop will preserve its old school NY roots, just as Alden has stayed true to its tried-and-test formula for more than 120 years.

When it comes to quality, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the New England shoe company founded back in 1884, still making shoes on the assembly line in their Massachusetts factory. In a well-worn pair of BIG Original 801s, Curtis gave us insight into Alden’s reputation and what exactly makes Alden Boots so singular. We stepped out for a coffee in Bryant Park to learn more about what it means to make a product in the US these days, how the shop on Madison has evolved over the course of Curt’s time at the helm, and which Alden shoe he just can’t live without.

Where are you from?
Originally from Poughkeepsie. Lived in Queens for 10 years. Now in Beacon, NY for the last 5 years.

How long have you been running the shop on Madison?
I took over handling the ordering/production about 7-8 years ago. But I started here right out of college 14 years ago.

Your favorite meal in Midtown?
We’re on a big Cava kick right now. I don’t think we’ve missed a week without ordering since it opened up again back in June.

How would you define your personal style?
Right now I’d say I’m a student. I’m going down all these different paths trying to upgrade my look. I’ve always had these greats shoes and boots and for so long the rest was lacking. I like a simple jeans and tee look, but now I’m all about finding quality jeans and tees.

What led you to Alden?
My best friend’s father owned the store. I took a job while in school at City College. I planned on being a teacher but never left Alden. I was given a great opportunity and it’s paid off.

The Alden shoe you can’t live without?
It sounds cliché to say our most popular boots…but my Indy Boots in snuff suede. I have a pair with a lightweight red rubber sole that I wear more than any other shoe. Feels half the weight of the original Indy. We have another run in production and are calling it the Redwood Indy for this go-round.

Photography Nathan Zack
Video Garrett Frisbey
Words Nathan Zack

Shop BIG Originals