Our 35-year-old business has moved to the lobby of the Pierre Hotel, which is one of New York City's iconic gathering spots. The wonderful book "Fifth Avenue, A Very Social History" has a great account of the origins of the Pierre:
Ambitious and tenacious, like many of his fellow Corsicans, Charles Pierre Casalesco left his father's Ajaccio restaurant where he had been the busboy to go as Charles Pierre to the brilliant Hotel Anglais in Monte Carlo....On a job foray to London, he was picked out by Louis Sherry for a position in New York. Twelve years of Sherry's brought him to an impasse. Smart women were beginning to smoke in public rooms. Mr. Sherry forbade it in his restaurant, an irritating, old-fashioned prohibition, Pierre thought, and, after flights of heated words he left.
After a series of successful restaurants, Mr. Pierre lost his liberal bent:
Inevitably he became a conservative elder statesman, deploring the vast democratic size of World War I parties and the unrestrained Prohibition guzzling that followed after. He soldiered on in this frantic new world that had lost its manners until a group of admirers and financiers, among them Otto H. Kahn, Finley J. Shepherd (who had married Helen Gould), Edward F. Hutton, Walter P. Chrysler, Robert Livingston Gerry (the son of Elbridge Thomas Gerry, lawyer, philanthropist and grandson of Elbridge Gerry, the inventor of 'gerrymandering') and others decided to use the site of the Gerry mansion at Sixty-first Street and Fifth Avenue for a hotel to be managed and run by Charles Pierre. The new structure, rising forty-two stories, could hardly keep the Richard Hunt chateau quality of the pink mansion it replaced, but a few old France touches were built into the hotel whose motto was 'from this place hope beams.'
At the official opening of the hotel in 1932, the dinner was prepared by none other than August Escoffier, "Father of French cuisine" and the hotel's early guest chef. We can only imagine what this glamorous night might have been like, but Nelson and Nelson has some wonderful pieces from the period should you wish to channel your inner Escoffier and celebrate!
This pair of American sterling silver three light candelabra, made by Gorham Mfg. Corp., Providence, Rhode Island, circa 1930 are decorated with classic gadroon detailing. For more information, click here.
This traditionally styled sterling silver tankard-form cocktail shaker was made by the Meriden Britannia Company of Meriden, CT, circa 1930. It has an unusual antique-tankard shape with an applied molded border and molded foot. The detachable domed lid has a knopped finial and the interior of the lid is set with a cork seal. The interior of the spout’s cover is also mounted with cork. For more information, click here.