News & Community

The Tie Life

“Bowtie Bob” Nelson doesn’t let age get in the way of his social life.

Chances are, if you’ve been to any local event, you’ll recognize “Bowtie Bob” Nelson. He’s the older man in pastel colors, maybe a flashy fedora, but always wearing a bow tie. 

The Mt. Vernon resident, 69, who dubs himself “semi-retired,” goes out five nights a week and says he’s not slowing down. “I never want to confuse my age with my date of birth,” he says with a laugh. “People think I’m crazy to go out so much in the city, but I love the people, the neighborhoods.” 

A typical week for Nelson involves nonprofit meetings, hanging out at The Brewer’s Art or Liam Flynn’s Ale House, seeing a movie at The Charles Theatre, hitting up a weekend festival, and walking 10 miles a day. 

And you can’t forget his style. “I’ve always been Joe College or preppy,” he says. “I won’t take the trash out without a bow tie on.” Nelson says he owns nearly 40 versions of his signature accessory and shops vintage at DeBois Textiles. Basically, at nearly 70 years old and rocking a pacemaker, Nelson is one of the coolest kids in town. 

“I may have another 30 years or three days left,” he says. “But, I’ll be laying down in the ground a lot longer. So I’ve got plenty of time to do that later on.”