The Beretta Gallery or Brett Does the Upper East Side

Yesterday my family and I took a stroll around the Upper East Side. I happened to get a parking spot in front of the Beretta store on Madison Ave., a place I’d always wanted to check out but hadn’t had the chance to before. The Beretta Gallery isn’t your typical Bass Pro Shop or Cabela’s brand of outfitter. Befitting the neighborhood, the Beretta store blends right in with the adjacent tony shops such as Longchamp and Devi Kroell. In fact, there’s zero chance of assaulting the typical New Yorker’s sensibilities with anything so crass as a firearm. Waking by, they’d never know there’s a store in their midst that sells – gasp – guns for hunting. No PX4 Storm window displays in Mike Bloomberg’s town . . .

The first floor is all clothing and spendy outdoor gear. The second floor’s stocked with more togs, optics and some overpriced eye protection. But if you’re a member of the cognoscenti, you can walk up the narrow staircase from the second floor to the third level to see what’s perhaps the most expensive showcase of firearms in the United States.

Can you say sticker shock? Once you’ve picked your jaw up off of the counter top, chat up  the sales staff a little and they’ll actually pull a few six-figure shotties from their perches to let you fondle and shoulder them. Supposedly the store exists mostly to give the ancient Italian gunmaker a flagship presence in New York than to actually, you know, make money. And as they say, if you have to ask how much….

I’m sure the Gallery isn’t terribly well known, but if you happen to find yourself in the Big Apple, it’s certainly worth a visit. Sending the Armed Intelligentsia champagne wishes and caviar dreams, I remain your faithful Upper East Side gossip correspondent.