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1003 Electric Rd, Salem, VA • 540-387-9780

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About Big City Getaway

Looking for a simple day trip? Just a neat destination to give you an excuse to ride? We bet some days you are. That is what Big City Getaway is all about. There are great roads and interesting destinations all around. Every month we’ll give you one in Big City Getaway.

The Glove Museum

2155 State Route 165, Dorloo, NY • 518-332-6792 • Seasonal Hours/Call before visiting

GloveBuilding1We have ridden in and around Cooperstown, NY many a time – we’ve even held a rally on the shores of Otsego Lake. The Baseball Hall of Fame is a huge draw for this area, as are Howe Caverns and the National Bottle Museum. Dr. O’Life has sent us in search of the Cardiff Giant at the Farmer’s Museum. But now there is another reason to take the beautiful ride – Daniel Storto’s Glove Museum.

Daniel, born in Toronto, was raised in an Italian immigrant family of tailors and cobblers. He took the path of glove making, a gantier, and before making his way to Dorloo, NY he was the last glove maker in Gloversville, NY – a town whose name came from the plethora of glove makers residing there. Found in the foothills of the Adirondacks, tanneries sprung up due to the groves of hemlocks surrounding the area – their tannins used for the reddish-brown hue - which supplied the glove makers. From 1890 to 1950, Gloversville produced 90 percent of all gloves made in the United States. With the advent of manufacturing jobs moving offshore and formal leather gloves becoming outdated, the population of Gloversville fell and the factories all closed.

GloveInside1In an 1852 Methodist church set in a bucolic setting, you’ll find Daniel’s transformation of the only free-standing glove museum in the U.S. Daniel acquired most of the tools and materials from the defunct Gloversville factories. Along with his own collection of glove making artistry, literature and artifacts, he has set up a most eclectic, informative and inspiring showcase for what has become a dying art.

We were greeted by the soundtrack to Chinatown that filled this acoustical cavern, as Daniel came to welcome us into his sanctuary. The space alone is electric, with the original stained glass windows and pews setting the stage for the collision of old and new. You’ll find glove forms, wooden patterns, glove irons and cutting blocks mixed in with some of Daniel’s own designs and creations from his years in New York, Los Angeles and abroad, working in the fashion industry and Hollywood. As you make your way through the pews to the altar, you’ll pass a display of hand-sewn Italian lambskin gloves, seemingly reaching to the heavens, inspired by the wooden sculptures of Modernist artist Louise Nevelson. The altar space, where the organ once stood, contains bookshelves packed with art books and typewriters. Daniel has offered up his wide collection – his Bibles, as it were – to those wishing to learn this dying trade, as well as other fashion and design information. His hopes are for students to have access to information not offered in the general libraries – which are also a dying breed. Sprinkles amongst this research material are monographs on Salvador Dali, Richard Avedon and Coco Chanel and, under the saintly statues sits The A B C of Millinery.

GloveCareyAs you continue around the hallowed halls, you’ll find a pique machine, which added the detailing to the gloves. ‘The more detailed the embroidery, the higher the status of the glove’s owners’ Daniel informed us. In fact, with every glimpse you will be rewarded with views into the past that will keep this amazing artistry alive in today’s world.

For me, the pieces de resistance are Daniel’s Text Gloves. Remember those typewriters I mentioned earlier? Well, they are in working order and Daniel uses them to type directly onto the leather then carefully hand sews each pair into the most beautiful pieces of wearable art I have ever seen. He also hand prints, and such is the case with his Carey gloves, with lyrics by Joni Mitchell, done in 1983.

GloveDaniel1Moving into the inner sanctum, Daniel’s workshop resides in the Sunday school classroom and is filled with those pieces that are of special value. For our visit, he had a pair of old-time motorcycle glove/mittens on display. There is a pair of 16th-century French gloves received as a gift, and the walls are lined with glove boxes collected from the factories in Gloversville. There are tiny dies used for children’s and doll’s gloves, a glove fitting device and seemingly endless trinkets and collectibles, making the space take on the appearance of a movie set. In the back of the room resides Daniel’s workbench – his altar, as it were. Here the magic is done, with hand cut and sewn couture gloves made using his heavy mallets. You may order a pair of these magnificent gloves, which sell for upwards of several hundred dollars, and are worth every penny.

There is no admission, as Daniel wants to share and educate his visitors, but donations are welcome and will reward you with a pair of cloth gloves of Daniel’s making. Be prepared to spend more time than you realize, as this look into an art of the past and the passion of one man’s life is absolutely fascinating.

Here is a 145-mile one-way ride from Homer’s Diner, Port Jervis, NY to the Glove Museum, Dorloo, NY. There are many quaint inns and lodging options in the area – make it an overnight and extend the riding pleasure.

This will give you the option of a route with or without (smooth) waypoints