The St. Regis or What do Napoleon, Dalí and Marilyn Monroe have in common?

Architects: Trowbridge and Livingston Built: 1904 Although there is seemingly nothing in common between Napoleon Buonaparte and the 17th-century French monk named Francis Regis, these names strangely come together in the story of the St. Regis Hotel in New York. Built in 1904 by John Jacob Astor IV as the most opulent hotel in the world, it…

Consuelo Vanderbilt – A Wedding on Fifth Avenue

The main American export of the Gilded Age was not cotton, not tobacco, not flaxseed, rice, tar, or turpentine… it was the American bride. Refined, educated, and groomed for every social situation, exquisitely dressed, beautiful and fantastically wealthy the American heiresses, joined in matrimony with the English aristocracy, were expected to form a perfect union…

“Mesopotamian” in Manhattan

Although New York skyscrapers bear no restraint in height or a lack of diversity in architectural influences, colorful they are not! What separates the Fred F. French Building from the rest is its warm hue and multicolored decorations. The only “Mesopotamian” or “Babylonian” inspired skyscraper in Manhattan, The Fred F. French Building, is covered in…

Alva Vanderbilt’s Party of the Century

When Alva Vanderbilt built a home, she built a castle, and when she threw a housewarming party, it was the party of the century. Alva Vanderbilt, the wife of William Kissam Vanderbilt (Cornelius Vanderbilt’s grandson), had a mission: to carve out her own rightful place in Gilded Age society. At the time the undisputed leader…

Audrey Munson – American Venus

  There are many rags to riches stories in the American experience, as well as the stories of falling from grace and losing fortunes. But out of all of them – hers was the most bizarre. Her name was Audrey Munson. The name was forgotten, but her likeness, cast in granite, bronze, and marble, is…

Owls in Manhattan

James Gordon Bennett Jr. was obsessed. His obsession was quite unusual – it was owls. Some of them, with flickering eyes, can be seen on Herald Square, guarding James Gordon Bennett Monument. Herald Square takes its name from the New York Herald, a newspaper founded by James Gordon Bennett Sr and inherited by Gordon Bennett…

Evelyn Nesbit and “the Trial of the Century”

The premiere of “Mam’zelle Champagne” did not go well. Despite the lovely songs and beautiful ingenues, the show was simply a bore. The performance took place on the rooftop of Madison Square Garden – a lavish venue designed by Stanford White, an accomplished architect and a socialite about town. That fateful night the famous architect…

Edwin Booth, the Hamlet of New York

In the center of Gramercy Park, there is a statue. It depicts an actor in the role of Hamlet, forever contemplating “To Be or Not To Be”. This actor is Edwin Booth. One of the great American Shakespearean actors of the 19th century, he was particularly famous for his signature role of Hamlet. In 1864…

Margaret Bourke-White and the Chrysler

It’s practically impossible not to photograph the Chrysler Building. Most people achieve it standing on the ground, looking up… However, some striking photos were taken from the dizzying heights of the glistening Chrysler crown. While the Chrysler was being erected to be the tallest in the world – a typical requirement for a skyscraper in…

Lucky Luciano

Romanticized by Hollywood as a fearless and dashing mob boss, Lucky Luciano was one of the biggest criminal minds of the 20th century. Should he have lived in a different era and applied himself to a legitimate business venture, he could have climbed to the very top of the corporate ladder. He is considered the…

O.HENRY – A VERY SHORT STORY

Yes, William Sydney Porter, better known to the world by his pen name O.Henry, lived right across the street from the Pete’s Tavern at 55 Irving Place. Yes, like so many writers, he was a heavy drinker, and Pete’s Tavern was his regular spot for imbibing and turning out some of the best short stories…

Flûte Midtown

Flûte Midtown 205 W 54th St Step down into the classy champagne lounge and imagine yourself in the notorious speakeasy that it once was – Club Intime. “Hello, Suckers!” – this is the way you would have been greeted if you entered the club in its heyday in the 1920s. The greeting would have been…