The Queen of Bohemia and the Upper West Side
Thursday, March 23rd 6-7pm via Zoom
LW favorite speaker Eve M. Kahn, curator of a spring ’23 show at the historic Grolier Club museum, To Fight for the Poor with My Pen: Zoe Anderson Norris, Queen of Bohemia, brings to LW! the remarkable story of a foremother of modern-day social justice advocates and confessional bloggers. In millions of published words of fiction and journalism–including in her own bimonthly magazine, The East Side (1909-1914)–Zoe Anderson Norris documented poverty, corruption and sexism and became one of the most prolific writers of her time as well as a colorful New York City personality known as the “Queen of Bohemia.”
A dissatisfied divorcée from Kentucky, Norris moved to Manhattan in 1900 and reinvented herself. Radiantly beautiful and incredibly witty, she began as something of a “stunt” reporter. But after witnessing the poverty and injustice lying just below the surface of Gilded Age New York, she moved into a tenement on East 15th Street and started her own magazine. The East Side‘s pages included everything from undercover sweatshop investigations and exposés of the city’s robber barons to poetry and profiles — all written by Norris herself.
Norris often lived, conducted interviews and attended parties uptown, including on the Upper West Side; Kahn will explore surviving buildings that witnessed the wanderings of the “Queen of Bohemia.” Her world was eclectic and chaotic. Her Ragged Edge Klub was a weekly party that combined talks on combating prejudice and bigotry with “dancing like dervishes” to ragtime music.
Zoe Anderson Norris was unique for her era–unique for any era–and Eve Kahn, who is completing a biography of Norris, is her perfect storyteller. Up until her last days (she even predicted her own death), Norris’ greater-than-life-sized persona captivated everyone around her. Kahn introduces us to the woman and the times with little-seen photos of the people and artifacts of Norris’ world and writings featuring her work alongside illustrations by major Gilded Age artists. Don’t miss this very special program on March 23!
BONUS for 12 lucky members: On Friday, March 31, from 4:30-6:00pm, Eve Kahn will offer a size-limited private tour for 12 Landmark West! members at the Grolier Club, the oldest existing bibliophilic club in North America, at 47 East 60th Street. In addition to her own exhibition on Zoe Norris, highlights of the tour will include the 1910 club building’s soaring neoclassical library, a Gilded Age interpretation of a 17th-century New York taproom, and a memorial shrine for a Victorian bibliomaniac. Hear all about Zoe Norris on March 24 then join Eve Kahn for a walk through the amazing exhibit she has curated in a private Gilded Age-era club. Space is very limited. Additional ticket required. The Grolier Club is ADA compliant; masks optional.
This is No Dream: Making Rosemary’s Baby
Wednesday, April 12th 6-7pm via Zoom
In August 1967, Mia Farrow, Roman Polanski and the cast and crew of the film Rosemary’s Baby arrived in New York City for two weeks of location shooting. The famed Dakota apartment building on the Upper West Side, where most of the story takes place, was the main focus of attention.
Levin’s original inspiration for “The Bramford,” as it is called in the novel and the film was actually not the Dakota, but production designer Richard Sylbert had another property in mind — and, with an assist from friend and Dakota resident Lauren Bacall, he recreated the Dakota interiors on Paramount soundstages. Up on West 72nd Street, cinematographer William Fraker captured the building’s famous exterior while Upper West Siders looked on.
James Munn is the author of the book This Is No Dream: Making Rosemary’s Baby, a definitive, illustrated history of Polanski’s 1968 film. He comes to Landmark West! “direct from Hollywood” to share his deep knowledge of just how this classic horror film came about, from director and casting choices to the kudos and condemnation it received upon its release. In particular, he will examine the New York portion of the shoot, and just how the Dakota became the uncredited star of the film.
The Opulent Apartment Houses of The Boulevard VIDEO
This event has passed, but a link to the full 1.25 hour video can be purchased below.
The Ansonia, the Belleclaire, the Dorilton, the Belnord, the Apthorp: five of the finest apartment hotels of “The Boulevard” on the Upper West Side. It was the turn of a new century and people like William Waldorf Astor and William Earl Dodge Stokes had a vision for a new way of living. They imagined the well-to-do living, hotel-style, in gracious apartments flanking a fashionable boulevard similar to the Champs-Élysées in Paris. (This explains why the first three of the above were so French in style.)
Historian Tom Miller (aka The Daytonian in Manhattan blogger) takes us along The Boulevard, circa the heyday of these impressive and aspirational buildings. Tiptoeing past the vigiliant doormen of the day, we’ll gawk at the courtyards, architecture and ornamentation; delve into the stories of some of the more colorful residents; and revel in the apartments’ upscale and innovative amenities.
Only Murders In The Building: Staging the Scene of the Crime VIDEO
This event has passed, but a link to the full 1.5 hour video can be purchased below
A murder. A trio of neighbors-turned-crime investigators-turned-podcasters. A landmarked building. A perfect evening! If you’ve been pulled into the whodunnit world inside the luxe Arconia building (aka the Belnord on the UWS), you can’t miss this “how-dunnit” special event.
Emmy-winning Production Designer Curt Beech and Set Decorator Rich Murray and Art Director Jordan Jacobs from the hit Hulu show Only Murders In The Building will share their secrets on everything from scouting the perfect NYC building for this caper of capers to creating the entire glittering world within.
OMITB fans have been gushing over the lavish and eclectic interior set design crafted by our über-talented speakers that has made the fictional Arconia a full-fledged cast member. That courtyard! The lobby! Even the elevator! And of course, the unbelievable rambling pre-war apartments for each character: maximalist Oliver, sophisticated & quirky Charles, inscrutable Mabel and a host of others (no spoilers). Hear how every detail, color palette, texture and style were carefully curated to create a set that feels real and wholly New York City.
The Historic Districts Council and Landmark West! invite you in for an evening to peek behind the designer curtains (there will be photos!) of one of the most popular series that also features one of our city’s finest landmarks!
Holding the Safety Net in San Juan Hill VIDEO
Wednesday, January 25th 6-7pm via Zoom
Please join Landmark West! and architectural historian Jessica Larson in this exploration of the ways in which Black charity and reform initiatives shaped the landscape of San Juan Hill, the community Robert Moses demolished to make way for the Lincoln Center for the Perforning Arts complex, in the early decades of the 20th century. Larson will focus in on the architecture of the buildings constructed to facilitate this social work, and together we will look at how the built environment of San Juan Hill was shaped by community-driven efforts to address poverty and improve the quality of life for the residents. Because charity work was deeply gendered, Larson will emphasize the significance of women to the spatial and welfare programs of the neighborhood.
Speaker Jessica Larson is a Ph.D. candidate in Art and Architectural History at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her dissertation examines the architecture of charitable and reform institutions built in Manhattan for Black aid recipients between the Civil War and World War I, with a focus on how women reformers directed to these designs. She has held fellowships with the American Council of Learned Societies, the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Library of Congress. She has also worked for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Bruce Museum. Jessica is currently a Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Museum of American History.
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Need the passcode? Email us at Landmarkwest@Landmarkwest.org – all recordings are available for free viewing for members