Monday, January 09, 2006

From The New York Sun
Us Weekly, c. 1895

January 9, 2006

If you have a taste for celebrity biography but find more allure in the names Astor and Vanderbilt than Hilton and Weinstein, you will enjoy Amanda Mackenzie Stuart's "Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and Mother in the Gilded Age" (HarperCollins, 608 pages, $27.95). If, on the other hand, you are looking for a sensitive evocation of this milieu not drawn largely from the social headlines of contemporary newspapers, you would do better to pick up Edith Wharton's unfinished novel "The Buccaneers," itself based on the life of Consuelo Vanderbilt. Indeed, you would do better to pick up any Edith Wharton at all - finished or not

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Different Affair

Merchant's House Museum to Host Gala 19th-Century Dinner at Historic India House in Lower Manhattan Multi-course Dinner to Feature Haute Cuisine Evoking the Gilded Era of the Astors and the Vanderbilts.

January 5, 2006: The Merchant's House Museum announced today that Kitty Carlisle Hart, Mr. and Mrs. Schuyler Chapin, and Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Hardy are serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of a Gala Benefit for the Museum to be held in New York on Thursday, March 16, 2006.

Inspired by a passage from Edith Wharton's classic novel, The Age of Innocence, the Museum's A Different Affair Gala will feature a sumptuous 19th-century dinner recreating the atmosphere and enchantment of Old New York. As Wharton wrote:

"But a big dinner, with a hired chef and two borrowed footmen, with Roman punch, roses from Henderson's, and menus on gilt-edged cards, was a different affair, and not to be lightly undertaken. As Mrs. Archer remarked, the Roman punch made all the difference, not in itself but by its manifold implications--since it signified either canvas-backs or terrapin, two soups, a hot and a cold sweet, full décolletage with short sleeves, and guests of a proportionate importance."

The setting the dinner will be the magnificent 1924 ballroom at historic India House on Hanover Square, with its oval skylight designed by master architects Delano & Aldrich. Eberhard Müller, renowned chef at Bayard's, and former top toque at Lutèce, will create the historically correct and elegant multi-course menu for the occasion complete with Roman punch. Guests will be encouraged to attend the event in 19th-century dress.

Proceeds from A Different Affair will benefit the Merchant House Museum s Restoration, Collections Conservation, and Public Education Programs. Built in 1832, the Merchant s House is New York City s only family home preserved intact, inside and out, from the 19th century, and is the City's prime example of a Greek Revival townhouse.

Home to a prosperous merchant family for almost 100 years -- and complete with its original furniture, decorative arts, and personal memorabilia -- the Merchant s House offers an intimate and authentic glimpse of domestic life of a wealthy family during the period when New York was transforming from a colonial seaport to a thriving metropolis.

The Merchant's House is one of only 2,000 sites designated as a National Historic Landmark and has been given landmark status in New York City for its late-Federal brick exterior as well as for its Greek Revival interiors. The House is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tickets for this historic event range from $400 to $1,000 and can be reserved by telephoning the Museum at 212-777-1089. A portion of each ticket purchased is tax-deductible.

Merchant's House Museum
29 East Fourth Street
New York, NY 10003-7003

Telephone 212-777-1089
Fax 212-777-1104
Submitted by: Shay Pantano,