COCKTAILS | Gin Daisy nods to Prohibition

GinDaisyThe Gin Daisy, a Depression-era cocktail featured in Al Hirschfeld’s ‘The Speakeasies of 1932.’

A favorite book of recent years is the fabulous reissue of illustrator Al Hirschfeld’s “The Speakeasies of 1932.”

Speakeasiesof1932First published by E.P. Dutton and Co. as “Manhattan Oases,” the book captures Old New York in one of its darkest hours: the waning days of the Noble Experiment and the depths of the Great Depression. Hirschfeld and his collaborator, screenwriter Gordon Kahn, travel up and down Manhattan, profiling the great speakeasies that defined the Roaring 20s and then dressed the wounds of deep financial crisis. Hirschfeld illustrates a bartender and Kahn offers a few pithy paragraphs describing the patrons, the drinks, the food and the general despair of New York’s speakesies.

The book was rereleased in 2003 by Glenn Young Books.

Among the establishments they visited — and the only one still remaining so far as I can tell — is ‘21.’ Still known as Jack and Charlie’s in 1932, the place was rated the second-best speak on the Island by Hirschfeld and Kahn. The latter writes:

Frequented by writers of the better order; the cosmopolite; the men who go to the nearby picture galleries; understand Matisse, Ravel and Ernest Bloch; who know “canarad a la presse,” drink hock, and call for the whiskey by name. …

… The bar is spacious, comfortable, and meticulously operated. The back-bar is sightly with statuettes of the White Horse whiskey steed himself ad the Nicolas porter you’ve seen on the Continent The beer steins on the mantel weren’t turned out in gross lots either.

Probably the only place on the island where you can call for Dewar’s, Teacher’s, Walker’s Black Label or any other brand of whiskey and get just that.

Thank me.

Bill, the bartender, recommended the Gin Daisy, a sour that’s has a bit of a sweet spot. It’s a terrific cooler for these waning warm weather nights. We’ve had them a couple of times in the last few weeks and have been delighted again and again.

• 2 1/2 ounces gin
• 1 ounce Cointreau
• 1 ounce Lemon juice
• Dashes grenadine
• Lemon garnish

Pour the gin, Cointreau and lemon juice over ice in shaker. Shake vigorously and serve over ice in a low tumbler. Add the grenadine and the garnish. Serve and enjoy.

CORRESPONDENCE | Greetings from St. Lawrence, 1906

StLawrencePostCardThis St. Lawrence Post Card, sent June 4, 1906, is a favorite of mine.

I’ve been meaning to share this post card, which I acquired sometime early in this spring or late this winter, for quite a while. It’s a jewel, I think, particularly because the embossed seal has survived so well.

Here’s a transcript:

Greetings from St. Lawrence

Dear Josephine —

Wish you were coming up with Katie. Be sure and give her a good send off. – Ben

Be good to Ruth and don’t forget Uncle Dudley. “Are you on”! — John.

Here’s a look at the obverse, which shows the card was dispatched from Canton at noon on June 4, 1906, addressed to Miss Josephine Cooper of 24 Lansing Street in Little Falls, N.Y.:


A nice little piece of Laurentiana.

ART| John Held, Jr. illustrations define the Jazz Age

Held1The cover of the Dec. 17, 1925 number of Life is graced with a John Held Jr. illustration of an athletic flapper.

I first became aware of the illustrative genius of John Held Jr. while researching a paper on “The Great Gatsby” in 1995 or 1996. His images of twiggy, angular young women gave life to the image of the Flapper, those charming, hard-drinking, hard-smoking and liberated women of the glorious Jazz Age.

Born Jan. 10, 1889 in Salt Lake City Utah, Held sold his first illustration to Life at age 15. At 16, he joined the staff of the Salt Lake Tribune as a sports cartoonist and by 1912, he had come east to the capital of American culture, New York. After the interruption of World War I, Held began successfully placing his work in a range of magazines, but his covers for Life, depicting the glories, foibles and evolving mores of the decade. Held’s subjects drink, they smoke, they play sports, drive cars and generally carouse. Simply put, they are icons of 20th-century illustration and graphic design.

When not drawing illustrations, Held occupied himself with woodcuts, creating cartoons for The New Yorker, which was edited by Harold Ross, an old pal from Salt Lake City.

After the crash, Held returned to newspaper work. Two strips, “Margie” and “Rah Rah Rosalie” had brief broadsheet runs in the early 1930s. Though his work is identified almost exclusively with the 1920s, he continued to work as an illustrator until his death in 1958.

BOOKS| ‘Take Ivy’ re-release available for preorder

Take IvyThe cover overleaf of “Take Ivy,” a collection of photographs taken of the 1960s that focus on Ivy League style.

Aficionados of classic American style rejoice: “Take Ivy,” the coveted photographic collection is due to be released, it seems.

As was earlier reported tonight over at Ask Andy, the compendium of photographs taken on Ivy League campuses by Japanese photographer Teruyoshi Hayashida in 1960s is now available for preorder at An August 31 release is set for the title, which is currently on offer for $24.95.

The book, authored by Kensuke Ishizu, Toshiyuki Kurosu and Moto Hasegawa, was first published in 1965 and has since been released a couple of times. The book, whose title plays on Dave Brubeck’s classic “Take Five,” plays on the Japanese affinity for both jazz and classic American style. It remains unclear if the book’s text will be translated to English but no matter. The photographs, which you can explore over at The Trad, speak volumes themselves about enduring style.

To give you a sense of both perceived value and demand for the book, I turned up a used copy this evening for $2,000. This reprint is welcome news for the thrifty.

“Take Ivy”
From $24.95

BOOKS | A trio of Auchincloss titles

AuchinclossThree of Louis Auchincloss’ novels: “World of Profit,” “Portrait in Brownstone” and “The Embezzler.”

The death last Tuesday of Louis Auchincloss, the patrician chronicler and critic of Old New York, was deservedly overshadowed by the J.D. Salinger’s passing. Auchincloss, who worked by day as an estate attorney, while popular, is not being taught in very many college English courses.

Still, there’s good stuff in his oeuvre. My grandmother was a fan, apparently, as these three first-editions were part of her library. “Portrait in Brownstone,” published in 1962, deals with what the Times called the “social mountaineering … of a prosperous Fifty-third Street clan.” The Denisons, of whom Auchincloss paints his portrait, don’t get very far up Manhattan’s peak, scrambling along the way with one another over perceived insults and the prospect of financial insecurity. “The Embezzler,” which appeared in 1966, eviscerates Guy Prime, a white-shoe Wall Street titan who embezzles $350,000 from the country club he helped birth and wean. Prime, who narrates the novel, laments his moral decline, a central fact in most, if not all of Auchincloss’ books. Jay Livingstone, hero of “World of Profit,” published in 1968, is an aspirant Jew who seeks to cast off his background for the social realm of Manhattan’s Protestant elite. The world he finds there is far shabbier than the one he came from.

This trio has sat on my shelves since college. (Missing from the series, of course, is Auchincloss’ greatest triumph, “The Rector of Justin,” published to acclaim in 1964. I suspect this book is on a shelf at my parents’ place in the Upper Delaware Valley.) The covers of these books, while clearly dated, are nonetheless graphically pleasing. As a newspaper man, I’ve always been particularly taken with the cover of “The Embezzler,” which immortalizes the much-lamented stock pages. They all have the look of “Mad Men” props and I’m surprised that Auchincloss hasn’t warranted a mention on the show. (Though few major literary figures have yet been mentioned, it’s obvious that Matthew Weiner is a student of the writers of the day. Cheever’s influence, for instance, is transcendent.) Don Draper, it could be argued, is as much an Auchinclossian character as he is a Cheeverian one.

These turn up cheaply at used bookstores and make for good reads, especially for those interested in the rapidly vanishing Manhattan of yore.

FIND| Letterheady celebrates correspondence

LetterheadyA piece of Johnny Cash’s stationery, used to send news bulletins, circa 1960. Note the die-cut holes through the target on the wall.

First there was Letters of Note, that wonderful collection of curated correspondence. Now there’s Letterheady, a celebration of stationery and letterhead design. Shaun Usher, who operates both sites, has been able to put together a wonderful portfolio of beautifully-designed and historically-important letterheads. Sir Winston Churchill is there. So is Johnny Carson. And Einstein. There are also graphic wonderments as well, including terrific letterheads from Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi and the Eagle Rubber Company.

Thanks to correspondent Maxwell Eaton III for turning up this treasure trove. We both agreed that it’s time to come up with some slick new correspondence stock.

CHRISTMAS| Season’s Greetings from

CardThe 2009 Forbes family Christmas card.

All the best for a blessed, joyous and peaceful holiday week from your writer, Mrs. F. and Kennedy. We hope all of our readers are enjoying the warmth of the season.

FINDS| Holiday artillery, retro photos and sounds of the Tick Tock

GrenandeAdd a piece of light weaponry to your Christmas tree this holiday season.

Here are a couple of finds for today, two that would make good Christmas presents, one that will help kill more time as you slave away at your cube and one that will, well, remind of you of that night you blacked out at the Tick Tock Inn.

• How terrific are these grenade Christmas ornaments? They’re from Suck UK, a British-based emporium of well-designed and generally whimsical home accessories. Santa, candy-canes and snowmen beware: artillery is coming to a balsam tree near you. Sold in sets of six.

• If yours is a household anything like mine, I’m sure you sometimes find yourself frustrated when, after a long day of slavish journalism-ing at the salt mine paper, you come home to find that your wife, that devilish vixen, has drank the last of the Scotch. Well, my friend, at last she can be stopped. This keyless bottle lock will keep her out of the Scotch and anything else you were dreaming of drinking all day long as you worked your ass off for deplorable wages and an increasingly dwindling self-satisfaction that newspapers make the world better. It’s $39.95 well spent.

Clarke, whose ability to mine the Interwebs for downright amazing stuff continues to astonish me. Today, he sent me this Flickr stream, and it’s a cornucopia of mid-century American kitsch. There’s vintage cookbook advertisements, photos of Vegas from August 1981, and much, much more. You’ll need at least a week to sift through all of it, I’d say.

• And, finally, For anyone who wants to relive a memory from Canton’s Tick Tock tavern or, say, Roomers in Lake Placid, or wherever your “BodyRock” bar was, you’ll want to explore this FM’s varied and frankly ridiculous playlists of this decade’s best (well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves) R and B and pop.

FRONT PAGES| The president’s plan for Afghanistan

President Obama spoke at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point about his plans to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in the New Year. Predictably, the news, hyped for more than a week, got very good play on front pages across the nation.

Take a look:

DESIGN| Wall-mounted corkscrew/bottle opener is all-American affair

StarrFriends and loyal readers Maxwell Eaton III and Kristin Sadue found this beauty at the Hotel Congress in Tucson, Ariz.

We’ve all seen the classic Coca-Cola bottle openers. In college, we attached one to our bar. Manufactured for the last 80 years or so by Brown Manufacturing, Starr bottle openers are American classics.

What we all haven’t seen is the combination bottle/opener and corkscrew our good friends Maxwell Eaton III and Kristin Sadue recently encountered at the Hotel Congress in Tucson, Ariz. Neither Max nor I have been able to find the combination Starr model for sale online. In the video below, which features Brown Manufacturing president and CEO David Brim, there’s a bit of B-roll that includes a few other examples of these fine pieces of American craftsmanship.

You can, however, purchase a standard Starr bottle opener at Patented on April 21, 1925, the Starr was invented by Thomas C. Hamilton of Boston. Raymond Brown, a Coca-Cola bottler in Newport News, Va., stumbled upon the patent later in the 1920s and began production. Today, Brown Manufacturing is located in Decatur, Ga., where Starrs are still produced.

Starr Bottle Openers
From $4.95

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