375-377 Commercial Street

 
Silk & Feathers

Provincetown hacks have surely transported far more than their share of unusual, eccentric and colorful characters over the decades. But only one has transported the President of the United States. The driver’s name was Josiah L. “Si” Young (b ±1862), who later helped his wife run an antiques store here. The president’s name was Theodore Roosevelt, and he was on his way in August 1907 from the Town Wharf to the hilltop where he was to lay the cornerstone for the Pilgrim Monument. A horse-drawn Victoria carriage, rented from Boston, was put under Young’s command, with Secret Service agents on all sides. “That was the most jittery experience I ever had and I thought we would never get to the top of that hill,” Young recalled in a newspaper account preserved in the Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell (Book 6, Page 113).

For the driver’s troubles, President Roosevelt tipped him $1, which Young kept pressed in the family Bible. Young had conducted an open-air, flagstop, omnibus contraption known as the “accommodation.” He was drove its motorized replacement, beginning in about 1911. In his later years, he was a familiar figure in a rocking chair outside the store; so familiar, in fact, that he was captured in a 1939 postcard, a portion of which is shown below. We can only guess whether tourists believed him when he spoke of once driving Teddy Roosevelt through town.

The building was known as the South Shore Apartments in the 1950s and as Antique Inn No. 2 in the 1970s. The retail space has served as Ye Olde Towne Shoppe in the late 1940s, with antiques, glass and china; Bam-Bu-Ware in the early 1950s, which featured a figure of Moby Dick carved out of bamboo; the Portuguese and Native Crafts Store in the early 1960s, run by Mrs. Frank Bent; and the Glorified Grocer at the Antique Inn, which a 1976 guide said was “carefully oriented towards sophisticated tastes to enliven jaded palates.”

Silk & Feathers, a clothing boutique, was established by Bernd “Marek” Kryszkiewicz (±1943-2004) and his wife, Jamie (Nishman) Kryszkiewicz (b ±1951), who met and married in New York City in 1960. Besides their commercial enterprises, the couple was also deeply involved in yoga instruction. Her niece, Ahbi Nishman, serve[s/d] as manager of the store. Marek was killed in a two-car accident on Route 6 in North Truro in May 2004. Jamie was badly injured, as was a 20-month-old girl, Natasha, whom the couple planned to adopt. So, too, was the driver of the other vehicle, Andrew Kinder. He’d been on his way for a group portrait of the construction workers involved with the Provincetown Theater project. An impromptu memorial was erected in front of the store, visited by the many who — in the words of The Banner obit — remembered Marek “for his electrifying smile and dancing eyebrows; for his love of bright colors (especially chartreuse and orange); for being a magic-making prankster; for his leopard skin thongs; for his quirky and outrageous store window designs.” (“Bernd ‘Marek’ Kryszkiewicz, 61,” The Banner, 20 May 2004.)


 

 

 


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