To contextualize the characters of a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, you have to first understand their relation to their surroundings. In Fitzgerald’s most celebrated novel, The Great Gatsby, Long Island’s Gold Coast region provides the necessary amount of drama, grandeur, opulence and richness to sustain the immortal characters in the novel. In Fitzgerald’s book, the West and East Egg of Long Island become leading characters themselves that entangle the characters into their fabric. To fully understand the magnitude of this literary landscape set during the golden era of the “Roaring Twenties,” we ventured out to the real Long Island Gold Coast to explore the Coe Hall Estate at Planting Fields with SideTour.
The Jazz Age is undeniably an enduring époque in literature, with author F. Scott Fitzgerald successfully chronicling a now iconic period of lush festivity and overall excess. He traveled often, but his most glorious years were arguably spent in Paris, where he lived with his wife Zelda from 1924 to 1931.
Though Fitzgerald’s antics have become synonymous with his lifetime, copious drinking, strolling, and intellectual hobnobbing can easily be implemented in Paris today—the good, the bad, and the over-the-top! Let’s take a step back and look at exactly how to recreate the lifestyle and mindset of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
The Fitzgeralds first visited Paris in the spring of 1921 and stayed at Hotel Saint James & Albany. The couple decided to travel when they learned Zelda was pregnant that May, but they were not typical homemakers by any means. In her piece, F. Scott Fitzergerald: American Expatriate of the Lost Generation, Sarah Krauss reports that the Scott and Zelda were kicked out of the hotel for eccentric misbehavior, ultimately finding Paris very lonely with no friends in the city. Despite their antics (or perhaps due to them), the hotel still functions today, so you too could visit a hotel in a friendless city. Maybe don’t leave what Krauss calls a “pungent goatskin” in the room though, or tie the elevator to the floor so you don’t have to wait for it—unless you want to be thrown out, and maybe arrested, as only a truly fearless Jazz Age enthusiast would do.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal, we will be exploring all aspects of the terminal, from its most famous attributes to its hidden treasures. Last week, we showed you what Grand Central could have been if other architects had built it. Now, we will explore the City that was created alongside Grand Central Terminal.
Reed & Stem’s original design for Grand Central Terminal
For the past century, New York City has been graced by Warren & Wetmore’s Beaux Arts masterpiece. However, most people are unaware that Grand Central Terminal does not stand on its own. The original plans by Reed & Stem, along with William John Wilgus, called for an entire city to accompany their train station.
For students and American expats in Paris, there is a nearly cult-like worship of Hemingway’s old haunts. Even for Parisians, Hemingway is a figure that seems to belong in Paris, like his namesake bar at The Ritz. Though his fiction is largely set elsewhere, in Spain, Africa, or the United States, Hemingway left a testament to his love for the City of Light: A Moveable Feast.
For better or worse, many of the Paris institutions mentioned in the book still remain. Perhaps the only curse of Hemingway’s legacy is that so many of his haunts have become tourist destinations, and have lost their air of authenticity. But, after following the routes set out on this map, you can be the judge of that for yourself.