If your ideal pen shop includes pens from all your favorite brands, displays of private collections and ephemera, and a quiet and relaxed atmosphere in which to try out a variety of pens and find just the right one, then stop at Berliner Pen.
Since opening in 1993, Berliner Pen has been a full service pen store that is, in the words of its proprietors, "devoted to the collector and owned by collectors." That devotion is rooted in the fact that business partners Geoffrey Berliner and Bernard Isaacowitz are both accomplished collectors, users and lovers of fountain pens
Geoff and BernieBerliner has also been restoring pens since 1988. He serves on the board of directors of the Pen Collectors of America and writes for its journal, The PENnant, in addition to authoring a long-running "Restoration" column for PWI. He began collecting over ten years ago while a graduate student in religion and philosophy at Harvard. He found pens made during the 70 or 80 years between the Victorian Era and the Machine Age to be historically interesting as well as beautiful and well made. "Vintage pens evoke the past," says Berliner. "They involve a standard of craftsmanship, quality and materials that perhaps doesn't exist today." Berliner's personal collection reflects his love of vintage instruments and includes an extensive collection of early Waterman and early Parker pens. He has also focused on early Maki-e, Parker 51's, vintage Omas and current Omas limited editions.
Isaacowitz joined Berliner Pen as a partner in 1996, bringing a strong business background from a career in hospital administration. He has been collecting for about four years now, ever since receiving a book on collectible pens from his wife and purchasing his first pen - an Astoria No.2 black hard rubber safety - at a flea market for $4. His flea market habit proved fateful when he met Berliner there. These days, his collection includes more than 110 early Waterman and early Parker pens
The shop has recently celebrated the grand opening of its new location on Broadway, between 21st and 22nd Streets in New York's Flatiron district. The expanded shop has 520 square feet of retail space - nearly twice that of the original location. The increased space has allowed the owners of display portions of their personal collections - which include over 1,100 pieces combined - in a special "museum" section of the shop. In addition, the museum occasionally features vintage pen repair tools and other ephemera.
The shop's interior is designed to be just as pleasing as the pens it showcases. Pen-related advertisements and artifacts line the walls. Vintage cases are always stocked with an array of vintage pens, vintage accessories and books. A variety of high-quality contemporary pens and limited editions from Omas, Parker, Waterman, Shaeffer, Pelikan and Aurora are also offered.