Rabbit Hole || Dinner de Luxe at The World Famous Cotton Club, 1938

04/04/2015 § 5 Comments

Cotton Club 1 - 1938 Cotton Club 2 Cotton Club 3 Cotton Club 4 Cotton Club 5

I’ve recently been spending quite a bit of time in the NewYork Public Library’s digital collection of menus.  An incredible collection of documents from around the world, dating from the 1850s through the 2000s, it is fascinating to observe trends in cuisine and cocktails – and prices!

I am always the most excited to find menus from storied New York establishments, those still standing like the New York Athletic Club and Tavern on the Green, and others that have since shuttered, like this one, from The Cotton Club in 1938, when it occupied its theatre district location at 48th Street and Broadway.  The Cotton Club was a nightclub that featured and launched the careers of some of the most notable black musicians and entertainers of the era, but served an all-white clientele.  At the time of the menu, Cab Calloway and his band headlined a twice nightly musical review that frequently included overtly racist themes similar to the images on the menu cover — as you can readily observe from the show program. **Be sure to click to enlarge the images.

Also interesting is the expansive cocktail menu.  Most other menus in the archive from this era mention only a few classic drinks and possibly a wine list, but because its primary function was as a nightclub and not merely a restaurant, The Cotton Club’s menu features all sorts of cocktails — separated from “Fancy Mixed Drinks,” mind you.  Nestled among the classics I already recognize, I was happy to find more obscure cocktails like the “Horse’s Neck,” the “Bronx,” the “Pink Lady,” and the “Jack Rose.”  All of which prompted a quick search and mental note to try out in the near future.  You’ll also notice a drink called the “Tall, Tan, & Terrific.”  A signature cocktail if ever there was one, the phrase is a nod to the Club’s chorus girls, all of whom were required to be taller than 5’6,” light-skinned and under twenty-one years of age.

To get a sense of the sort of performance patrons viewed on the nights this menu was in use, I’ve found a great short film made by Paramount in 1934 of Cab Calloway, featuring some of his most famous hits.  Nicknamed the “Hi-De-Ho Man” after his success with his song “Minnie the Moocher,” you get to view a bit of Calloway’s distinctive singing style, his call and response technique with the orchestra, his inspired dance moves.  Love it.  I mean, his hair alone!

As an added bonus, a very famous clip from Stormy Weather (1943), featuring Cab Calloway and his orchestra as well as an amazing routine by the Nicholas Brothers, another act that called the Cotton Club home.

Images via NYPL.

Words || The Journey

11/11/2014 § Leave a comment

IMG_5115.JPG

A moment from my recent drive in the Hudson Valley, overlaid with a bit of wisdom from Papa Hemingway.  Fall is quite excellent at making one feel pensive and restless — I suppose it is mainly due to the spectacular demise of the foliage.

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QC Loves: Hi-Collar

09/11/2014 § 1 Comment

QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-CollarQC Loves: Hi-Collar

Admittedly, this was a discovery I made some time ago, but with the return of the polar vortex next week, it seems like the perfect time to share.  Hi-Collar in the East Village is a darling of a tiny kissaten — a Western-inspired Japanese coffee house — by day and a sake bar by night.  Siphon coffee, tea and small bites, both savory and sweet, are served with a precision and ritual you won’t find at any of those other coffee shops around the city.  It’s the perfect place for a meandering late afternoon — and if you can stretch your visit into the evening changeover, even better.

Hi-Collar
214 East 10th St.
New York, NY 10003

Disappearing Acts

08/08/2014 § 1 Comment

Porto RicoEvery morning on my way to the train at the West 4th Street station, I pass the Porto Rico Importing Co. at 201 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village.  More of a coffee and tea store than a true coffee bar, it’s where I buy the coffee I use at home (try it out: Monsoon Malabar is my favorite).  It’s usually full of bench sitters and the usual bunch of parked cars, but today I happened upon a rare moment of quiet and a break in the traffic so that I could take the shot above.

As I took the picture, an eccentric-looking older gentleman ambled by and gruffly offered his two cents: “You know, places like that are disappearing around here.”  He then proceeded to point out the growing vacancies around Porto Rico, both new and old. I readily agreed with him and he eventually set off on his way down Bleecker, satisfied.

Vaguely familiar that Porto Rico has been around for some time — it does mention something about 1907 on the awning, at least — I did a bit of research and discovered that the ground floor of 201 Bleecker has been operated by the Longo family since the early 1900s, initially as a bakery and then later as the coffee and tea store we know today.  The current owner-operator, Peter Longo, is the third generation to run the store, the building having been bought by his grandfather in 1905 for $5,000.  Peter was born in the building, as well as his father before him.

For someone who’s only lived in the neighborhood for just over a year, it’s always exciting to learn more about longtime residents and businesses, but also to hear how the streets have changed.  The next time you find yourself on Bleecker, I definitely recommend that you stop by for a pound of coffee or perhaps a new tea — because it’s true, places like this are rapidly disappearing these days.

For a fuller story on Porto Rico, Alex Witchel at the NY Times wrote a great article on Peter and the store that you should also read.

Have a lovely (caffeinated) weekend!
M. xx

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Harvey Faircloth Fall Winter 2014 Look Book || Bright Lights, Big City

27/03/2014 § 1 Comment

Harvey Faircloth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah Kunkel oth FW14 by Mariah KunkelSomehow, I find myself on the other side of a really jam-packed NYFW and FW14 market, with no blogging to show for it.  I supposed that if I had something really amazing to share, you might let me get off with a light punishment…perhaps?

I am pleased to present the Harvey Faircloth FW 2014 look book, which I had the honor of shooting myself on Impossible Project polaroid film with a Polaroid Spectra ProCam.  Different from our past look books which are much more straightforward, our aim was to capture the essence of season’s inspiration: our Creative Director Christopher Rivers’ memories and favorite places of late night New York City during the late 1980s and early 1990s (“Bright Lights, Big City”).  Intimate and ephemeral, it has a undeniably voyeuristic quality — it almost feels like we’re following this girl on a nighttime prowl all over the city.

Working in Polaroid was challenging in a really great way.  Because the photographs take time to develop, I had to shoot and move on in the interest of time.  In an era of digital cameras and Photoshop, truly only having one chance was initially daunting but eventually liberating.  I first figured out how to focus and then shortly thereafter I found a way to trust myself.

I hope you enjoy it!

Photographer: Mariah Kunkel
Hair: Walton Nunez
Make up: James Vincent
Model: Kuyan Elliot (Re:Direct)

My New York-aversary

04/08/2013 § 1 Comment

I <3 NYCPhoto via Instagram.

I was about halfway through the day before I realized that today marks the sixth anniversary since I landed in New York.  Six years.  It sort of crept up on me.  More than five years, but less than ten, the time seems to have accelerated in speed since year two (or so) and while I wasn’t looking I suppose I’ve become one of those seasoned “New York people” I marveled at when I first moved here.  People who understood the subways.  People who were surprised by nothing.  People who knew all sorts of interesting people and places in the city.  People who tossed off the numbers of years they’d lived in the city with nonchalance.

Yet, I’m not sure if I’m a New Yorker.  I still feel solidly connected to California and my roots out west, even though I’ve definitely settled into a rhythm within this busy, crazy, hectic city over time.  Establishing your relationship with this city demands time; it’s too much to take in and too much to experience, to rush the process.  Through it all, I’ve changed boyfriends, roommates, friends, colleagues, and jobs — but the city remains.  I’ve lived in places like Tribeca and Crown Heights and the Upper East Side and Murray Hill and Soho and the Financial District.  There are still entire neighborhoods I’ve yet to see or experience, while there are some I know like the back of my hand.  I’ve danced at nightclubs that no longer exist.  I know exactly where my preferred door on my preferred subway car will stop at both ends of my commute.  It’s almost like you come to an agreement with New York: you eke out a tiny portion of the city, you plant some roots, and if you work hard — and have a bit of luck — you flourish.

I’ve seen plenty of people come and go.  Some who predated me and decamped, declaring they’d “had enough” of it all — which to a newbie can sound almost impossible to fathom. Others arrive so full of hope and just can’t seem to make it work.  Still others are taken away by school or jobs or marriages.  While perhaps not as transient as Washington, DC, New York definitely maintains a sense of constant churn just below the surface.  People frequently reference how long they’ve lived here or worked there.  Transplants are constantly trying to figure out if they’re short-timers or in it for the long haul, while those born and bred in the city wear it as a badge.

I’ve always trusted in the assumption that when the time comes for me to leave, I will know it, innately.  But right now, this crazy life still feels right.  I still feel that thrill when I see the Chrysler Building at dusk.  I’m still excited for that first glimpse of the skyline whenever I return from being out of town.  The city still feels open, ripe for opportunity and adventure.  While I don’t know what chapter of this story this might be, I know we haven’t quite reached the end…

Happy Anniversary, New York.  I still love you.

In The Wind: Montauk

12/07/2013 § 1 Comment

Marilyn and Miller Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, Amagansett, 1958.  Taken by Sam Shaw.

This weekend finds me scampering off to the beaches of Long Island: Southampton, Amagansett and Montauk.  The weather seems a bit iffy, but I’m not going to let that dampen my spirits (pun intended).  I’ll be back in a flash with tons to share, I’m sure.  Hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever you’re getting up to.  Enjoy!

QC Prêt-à-Porter || The Getaway

12/07/2013 § 1 Comment

The Getaway

From left:
Mara Hoffman Medicine Wheel bandeau bikini
Band of Outsiders denim shirtdress
Le Renard Big Bag – Hexie Mountains
K Jacques St Tropez Picon leather sandals
Warby Parker Flannery sunglasses
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Specter At The Feast

Quite Continental Breakfast:
Nantucket and Malibu are disappearing [via Vanity Fair]
Gaby Hoffman was the real-life Eloise of The Chelsea Hotel [via NYT]
An Ode to Lauren Hutton [via Miss Moss]
My amazing and beautiful friend Marisa was profiled by Vogue Spain!

On The Docket:
Take the Rockabus to Rockaway Beach
Attend the Museum of the City of New York event on 7/17 on the 1970s club scene
Stop by Fair Folks & a Goat for coffee and design (and become a member like me!)

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On the Docket: Scenes from the South

09/05/2013 § 1 Comment

Scenes from the South

I’m just back from Nashville, so it seems fitting that on my immediate list of things to do is to see Scenes from the South, a collection of photographs curated by Susan Sherrick, featuring eight Polaroids taken by my exceptionally talented friend Mikael Kennedy, originally for his Passport to Trespass series.  I had the pleasure of recently catching up with Mikael where we talked about artistic process, inspiration, vocational callings and the Waffle House (aka my newest obsession, as a result of my roadtrip).  Lofty subjects, all.  If you are in New York, be sure to drop by the opening reception tonight at the Howard Greenberg Gallery on East 57th!

QC Prêt-à-Porter || Lo in the City

15/03/2013 § Leave a comment

QC Prêt-à-Porter: Lolita

R13 contrast sleeve Concert-T  
Current/Elliott Boyfriend cropped jean
J.Crew hooded parka
Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers
Ray-Ban aviators
J.Crew cashmere beanie
Mimi Holliday by Damaris Bisou Bisou Pearl lace soft-cup bra
Lolita by Nabokov, first edition (anniversary edition available here)

On the docket:
Celebrating a certain St. Patrick
Audubon’s Aviary at the New York Historical Society, details here
Club Monaco sample sale (only through Friday, details here)

Quite Continental Breakfast:
bits and bobs for your weekend wander

  • Explore the cult of British designer Margaret Howell, via WSJ Magazine.
  • Fernet Branca is the equivalent of a hipster bartender handshake (and did you know that San Francisco ingests more of the stuff than Buenos Aires?!?).  A quick guide to Fernet, via Bon Appetit.
  • Patrick Robinson, formerly of Gap, is launching Pashko, his own collection of athletically-inclined comfy clothes “to hang out in” — with your help.  Using a Kickstarter campaign, Robinson plans to only make the items that people “order” via the crowd-funding mechanism, and after the initial funds are raised, turn Pashko into an e-commerce business, via NY Times.
  • Yasmin Sewell looking amazing per usual, via Vanessa Jackman.
  • Thom Browne is amused by what you think his outrageous show concepts mean, but he’s actually too busy building a business to pay you too much mind, via Business of Fashion.
  • I am a little bit (TOTALLY) obsessed by the idea of staying in this amazing Airstream on the ocean side of Highway 1 in Big Sur.  Okay, completely obsessed.
  • Peruse the Windows of New York.
  • Who exactly is the “average guy” when discussing what men wear (and #menswear)?  Via Robert, for GoLocalProv.
  • Stephanie always finds the most amazing things. For example: this portrait from the Cleveland Museum of Art.
  • Moynat, a french trunk-maker and leather goods company founded by a woman in 1849, provides a lovely bit of illustrated inspiration for your next trip to Paris:

Have a lovely weekend!
xoxo.  M.

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