New York Café Society

The Elite Meet to See and Be Seen, 1920s–1940s


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About the Book

In the midst of the Great Depression, an elite group of New Yorkers lived seemingly unaffected by the economic calamity. They were writers, playwrights, journalists, artists, composers, singers, actors, adventurers and socialites. Newspaperman Maury Paul dubbed them the Café Society.
It was the time of Prohibition, speakeasies and exclusive nightclubs for the smart set to see and be seen. Their lives were the stuff of newspaper columns and magazine articles, eagerly read by millions of Americans who wanted to forget the Depression. This book describes the emergence of Café Society from New York’s old society families, and the rise of the new creative class.

About the Author(s)

Anthony Young has published books on transportation, aerospace and social history. He lives in Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

Anthony Young
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7437-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1906-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Ward McAllister, Caroline Astor and the 400 11
2. Prohibition, the Speakeasies and Nightclubs of the 1920s 24
3. The Cult of Personality 44
4. Café Society’s Writers, Journalists, Editors and Playwrights 60
5. Boom and Bust: Music, Skyscrapers and Wall Street in the 1920s 89
6. Effect of the Great Depression on New York Society and Café Society 107
7. This New York: Maury Paul, Lucius Beebe and Walter Winchell 122
8. The Colony, the Plaza, the Rainbow Room and the Waldorf 149
9. Jack and Charlie’s 21 Club 163
10. The Stork Club 176
11. El Morocco 185
12. Café Society Fades Away 198
Chapter Notes 205
Bibliography 208
Index 211