The Best Dressed Man Does It Again

 The Best Dressed Man Does It Again

By Katie McFadden

“When I was fourteen, I realized that girls were not yucky,” the first sentence of Owen Loof, the Best Dressed Man in Rockaway’s latest book reads. It’s the beginning of a series of some real, but mostly fictional love stories of a young Owen Loof in an easy, humorous read that will have you reminiscing of your own romantic escapades of your younger days in old Rockaway. “The Best Dressed Man in Rockaway: The Love Stories: Part One” is now available.

Just a little more than a year after publishing the first installment of “The Best Dressed Man in Rockaway” series, Loof is now a two-time self-published author. Loof says he had a successful run with his first book, “The Brooklyn Prep Years,” which detailed the antics of a semi-fictional Loof in his school days. Loof released the book in July 2022 with the help of Luminaire Press, and has since sold nearly 500 copies. “The average self-published book sells about 250 copies. I sold 168 on Amazon and a little more than 330 on my own,” he said.

Loof was able to sell the majority of the books doing what he does best, simply being The Best Dressed Man in Rockaway. From nights following the hottest gigs where local bands were playing at bars like Rogers, to Solshyne performances at the boardwalk concessions, the books sold themselves as Loof donned a flashy suit, danced with some lovely ladies and drew curiosity all around. “Everywhere I went, I took books with me,” he said.

Now he’ll be carrying even more with the release of “The Best Dressed Man in Rockaway: The Love Stories: Part One” on November 29. The love stories focus on various mostly fictional or embellished relationships Loof had in his teens with girls who were girlfriends and some who wanted to be, culminating in the very real story of Loof meeting his wife, Peggy. Loof says among the highlights are stories of young Loof going to three different proms with three different girls in a three-week timeframe, and a fictional romance with an Italian girl named Olivia. In fact, none of the girls Loof mentions in his stories were from Rockaway, unless you count down for the summer girls.

But there’s plenty of mentions of Rockaway. From days surfing on the waves, to fun outings at Playland, to antics at old bars like The Irish Circle, RBI’s, Boggianos, the old Blarney Castle on Beach 90th and of course, Connolly’s, where Loof met his wife, the spirit of old Rockaway is alive in Loof’s tale. For those who might not totally be into love stories, the book will have folks falling in love with and reminiscing about old Rockaway. “This is all old Rockaway,” Loof said.

For that reason, Loof believes this book is for the lovers out there to simply the lovers of Rockaway. “I think anybody who loves Rockaway will enjoy this book. These stories will maybe bring you back and maybe make you think about your own teenage romances. And anyone who is a little romantic will understand this book and will enjoy reading it,” Loof said. “You’ll laugh at some parts, maybe it will tug at your heart strings a little. I go through girlfriends, almost girlfriends, getting dumped, to meeting the love of my life. Buckle up for the roller coaster ride of happiness, heartache and laughter—the trademark or all great love stories.”

To become a published author at age 70 was a big deal for Loof. “It feels really nice. Even some of my classmates who knew me back then said ‘Wow, we really didn’t know you could do that.’ I said, ‘Guess what? I didn’t know I could either.’ To have one book is nice but to have two published books, it really is an accomplishment,” he said.

Becoming a published author is among many later-in-life accomplishments for the Vietnam veteran and former New York City Transit Authority employee who retired after a 27-year career. While his NYC Transit career was nearing its end, Loof decided to go back to school, obtaining a masters in history at St. John’s University. After “retiring,” and moving to Hawaii with his wife, Peggy, he landed himself in a second career as a history teacher. And after his wife passed away from breast cancer in 2016, Loof moved back to Rockaway and reinvented himself once again, putting on flashy suits and bringing a smile to others everywhere he went, eventually becoming The Best Dressed Man in Rockaway.

While he had some down time during the Covid pandemic, when the bars were closed and social events where he made people smile were frowned upon, Loof started putting pen to paper and writing a series of stories, some loosely based around his life as a young man, with fictional embellishments. He soon found himself with enough material for at least four books and put in the work to start getting them published.

“A few people have said to me that seeing me do all of this stuff now at this age has served as an inspiration to them. I have young guys telling me ‘When I grow up, I want to be just like you.’ It’s not what I intended, to be an inspiration,” Loof said. “But to have these people getting something out of it, where they look at me and say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it too,’ that’s what the Best Dressed Man is all about. It’s about giving back to other people because I shouldn’t be standing here. I’m sure the big man upstairs called me many times and sent me back here.”

Bringing joy and giving back to others is also why Loof has chosen to not make money on his books, besides covering publishing costs. Just like with his first book, much of the proceeds from the new $20 book go back to charity. This time, five charities will benefit from book sales: Tunnel to Towers, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Ministry of Hope’s Hope House, the Graybeards and now Dyspraxia DCD America.

“There are two reasons I want to sell books. One is because it’s a good read, you’ll enjoy it. You’ll laugh, you’ll reminisce. There’s no moral, no hidden message, it’s just a bunch of heartwarming, funny stories. It’s a book that’s made for this time because there’s so much craziness going on in the world and this is just a nice escape. The second reason is—the more books I sell, the more money I give away to charity,” Loof said. “I am one of the luckiest people alive. I just want to give back and help as many people as I can, whether it’s through donating to charity or asking a woman to dance and making them smile.”

“The Best Dressed Man in Rockaway: The Love Stories: Part One” is now available on or Owen will have them on hand if you see him around town. Just look for the man in the fancy suit. And stay tuned for information about book related events in the future.

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *