Valentine’s Day weekend is the perfect time to visit some of NYC’s vintage restaurants or hidden bars with friends or a loved one. With Presidents’ Day falling on Monday, the long-weekend is also a great opportunity to try something new or unusual. It’s not hard to create a more offbeat or even eccentric holidays here in New York City; if the classic dinner-and-a-movie combo doesn’t sound appealing this year, then check out one of these quirky Valentine’s events!
Cynthia von Buhler at the Players Club. Photo Credit: Maxine Nienow
What if John Wilkes Booth really assassinated Lincoln because of a sibling rivalry? The Brothers Booth, a new interactive play by Cynthia Von Buhler, creator of the Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, will explore that possibility. Spectators will be encouraged to play along, observing the action and piecing together the clues as they explore The Players Club, founded by Edwin Booth in 1888. The Brothers Booth is a fantasy based on a number of truths about Edwin and his infamous brother, John Wilkes Booth. We met up with von Buhler at the Players Club to find out more about the play, which opens in March. (more…)
On December 17, 1831 a deed by Samuel Ruggles established the plot of land between 3rd Avenue and Park Avenue South from 18th to 21st Streets as Gramercy Park. Today one of the priciest and most exclusive parts of the city, this historic district features tree-shaded streets and 19th century residences that stem from 1840s brownstones to Victorian and neo-Geothics. Ruggles drained the swamp that was previously there, planting all types of trees. Still, it was hard to convince people to live this far uptown but Ruggles had a vision and continued to plant.
New York City is home to numerous world-famous museums but if you need a break from classics like the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the MOMA, do check out some of the City’s smaller, off the beaten path museums. In the previous installment of this series, we rounded up unique house museums in the Bronx. Today, we look at some gems in Manhattan.
The financially beleaguered The Players club had some good news yesterday. A prized John Singer Sargent painting of one of its founders, Joseph Jefferson, will be returned by the end of August. The club had essentially pawned the painting to lender Borro.com in order to meet expenses, as it faced a crippling debt of a reported $2 million. For the last year, the painting had been in possession of gallery owner Warren Adelson, who had been paying the insurance. He also bought another Sargent painting at the Players Club in 2000 of club fouder Edwin Booth.
We recently learned the distressing news that The Players Club, Gramercy Park’s members-only theater club, might be shut down due to financial mishandling. The Players, which we visited in February on a behind the scenes tour, recently celebrated its 125th anniversary, making it the oldest private club in New York City still in its original location.
The Players Club was founded in 1888 by Edwin Booth, a Shakespearian actor and brother of John Wilkes Booth, together with fifteen incorporators, including Mark Twain and General William Tecumseh Sherman. The Players occupies a beautiful five story Greek revival townhouse and members have access to a key that opens Gramercy Park. It was originally an all male club for actors to get to know society men. The club has an incredibly rich history, as evidenced by the many artifacts housed there, including Mark Twain’s pool cue, Booth’s costumes from Shakespearian dramas, and even the skull of an admirer that Booth used in Hamlet’s soliloquy. Portraits of the club’s members, including Carey Grant, Gregory Peck, Tommy Lee Jones, Liza Minelli, Jimmy Fallon, and many more hang on the wall by the staircase.