ASTORIA — It's hats off to fedoras in New York this summer.
The accessory, which decades ago was associated with detectives and gangsters, can be spotted across the city, fashionably shielding New Yorkers from the sweltering summer sun.
“They don’t have a big brim in the back so I can wear it while sitting in a beach chair,” said Barbara McCarthy, 58, of Long Island, who bought her fedora in March and visits her daughter in Long Island City three days a week.
"It covers your face and protects you from the sun.”
Nydia Small, 59, of Kew Gardens, who used to be a consultant for the Department of Education, has about 10 of the hats in different colors from pink to beige, and likes them for their versatility.
“I love fedoras," she said.
"They are very fashionable. You can jazz them up and put a scarf or a leather strap around them and it gives you a whole different look.”
According to Marc Williamson, 42, a co-owner of more than century-old J.J. Hat Center on 5th Avenue, the fedora renaissance started a couple of years ago with stars like Justin Timberlake, Jamie Foxx, Usher and Brad Pitt.
Williamson noted the “fedoras' popularity waned in the '60s and '70s.” Now, he said, “Hollywood dictates fashion,” which has succeeded in bringing them back.
The hats, which can be made of various materials, from straw to beaver, cost as little as $5 or as much as $650.
Desiree Royer, 29, a graphic designer from Astoria, said she bought a fedora for her boyfriend at H&M a couple of days ago.
“But I liked it so much that I decided to keep it for myself,” she said.
"There is some sophistication about fedoras. They are very stylish and very much old New York, too.”
“It’s fashion, but they are great for the summer, too,” said worker Maria Ruiz, 20, adding that the store had to refill its stock three times already this season.
New Yorkers also like the hats for practical reasons.
“They are really comfortable,” said Andrew David, 46, a computer operator from The Bronx, who said he has five fedoras, including one that is tan, another that is black and one that is blue.
Williamson said it takes “a strong personality” to wear a fedora. But once you have one that matches your character, “it’s like the cherry on the ice-cream sundae."