Best of Jersey: At Your Service

Service sector jobs get some pub from New Jersey Monthly.

NEWSPAPER After most of the nation’s major dailies have slashed and burned their way through the newsroom, cutting jobs just to survive, the Star-Ledger still thrives, winning major awards, including a Pulitzer last year for its coverage of the McGreevey scandal. Under the watchful eye of head editorial honcho Jim Willse, the paper keeps the state’s more ethically challenged politicos on their toes.

MANICURE Celebs and wannabes pile into Skyy Hadley’s As U Wish Nail Spa in Hoboken to ready their cuticles for the red carpet.

BARTENDER In the mid-1990s, Kristen Bronson was just your average up-and-coming supermodel. Mercifully for us, she abandoned the runway for the bar at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, where she treats every customer like a rock ’n’ roller.

CATERER For an event spread that Martha Stewart would envy, look no further than Maplewood’s Laurence Craig, a guy whose tagline is “Distinctive Celebrations”—and who delivers just that.

FLORIST There’s life beyond red roses, and that’s certainly the case at Manasquan Florist, where artful creations such as the Blissful Bouquet, composed of alstroemeria, carnations, delphinium, roses, and irises, dazzle the eyes and the nose.

DRY CLEANER At J&P Cleaning & Tailoring in Belleville—the initials stand for Jack and Paula—no deadline is too tight, no alteration too complex, and, best yet, no item gets lost. It’s proof that American pride and workmanship endure.

HOME CONTRACTOR For obvious reasons, we were prepared to give this nod to any contractor who simply showed up, but we were able to go one better when we stumbled upon rave reviews for United Home Improvement in Oakhurst. Timely (they call back!), diligent (they show up!), and professional (they don’t gouge!), they’ll make you almost glad you’re plunking down a serious chunk of change for that new bathroom.

ARCHITECT (icon) Michael Graves. Period.

ARCHITECT (on the rise) Princeton’s Gil Rampy studied under master Richard Meier for six years and is now out on his own. He just finished a project for novelist Joyce Carol Oates and is making a name for himself with his elegant yet arresting designs. Watch him: He’s coming to an issue of Architectural Digest near you.

BEST-SUITED While working for a uniform company in late 2002, Anthony Lanno decided to treat himself to a custom-made suit. He picked a fabric, got fitted, and then got frustrated. “I felt like I knew more about the clothes than they did,” he says.

Eight months later, the 31-year-old turned his passions for fashion and shopping into Fox Menswear, a we-come-to-you apparel service for busy big-timers. The Clifton-based company has grown by word-of-mouth and now boasts thousands of clients all over the country, including New York Giants lineman David Diehl and recent Apprentice winner Randal Pinkett.

Customer and tailor first meet to choose the fabric and style and provide measurements. After the suit is completed about a month later, the tailor returns for the fitting. Fox also makes shirts, jackets, ties, and cuff links—everything but the shoes. Suits start at $1,000; for more information, visit foxsuits.com.

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