Philip Crangi, Oyster Expert

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

“What says Florida cracker like an alligator visor?” said Philip Crangi last night as he shucked oysters at the Crangi Family Project, sporting the hat he created just for the occasion.

Crangi and the Costello Tagliapietra boys bought 600 oysters for the Fashion's Night Out party, and Crangi proved he knew his way around a shucking knife. “You can use any knife, though — it’s kind of like opening a beer bottle with a lighter.” Where did he learn these seafood skills? “When I was a kid my grandparents had a boat, and we’d take it out and go tooling around the islands on the west coast of Florida. My grandfather would jump off of the boat, pick oysters off the bottom of the bay, pile them up, and we’d pop them open with a penknife and eat them without anything on them.”

The trio decided on the night's oyster theme after Crangi designed a necklace featuring the mollusk. “Ugh, this is so briny,” he said as he ate the oyster, twisting his face before turning it into a smile. “It’s crazy delicious. Perfect.”