Model Paloma Elsesser on Turning 30 and “Moguling the F— Out” – Laurene Powell Jobs Is Giving It Her All – Ghosts of New York’s Glamourous Past Haunt an Empty Pub
Today, we from the Editorial Team of TextileFuture propose only three items to read.
The first feature is on the life of Model Paloma Elsesser and shows also some delightful pictures of her.
The second item is entitled “Laurene Powell Jobs Is Giving It Her All”. It is all about her life and has just a few captions.
The third feature bears the title “Ghosts of New York’s Glamourous Past Haunt an Empty Pub”, it tells you the life story of the well known Storch Club in New York City (USA) and was firstly published in the New York Times.
We do hope that you like to read our selection.
We from the Editorial Team of TextileFuture wish you a fantastic week and do hope that you will return next Tuesday to our website to read the new edition of the TextileFuture Newsletter. To make things easier for you, please subscribe free of costs to our Newsletter.
Best regards and see you again,
The TextileFuture Editorial Team
Here starts the first feature:
Model Paloma Elsesser on Turning 30 and “Moguling the F— Out”
After turning 30, starting an essay collection and recently starring in campaigns for Chloé and Marc Jacobs, Elsesser—who says she’s “just a model who’s a size 12”—feels more centred and secure than ever.
By guest author Lane Florsheim from the Wall Street Magazine.
The model Paloma Elsesser has what many might see as a glittering, out-of-reach profession, but she says her dream job is to be a poet. She also has a concise reason why she probably never will be. “You know, I like nice things,” she says, laughing.
Elsesser, 30, is still writing, though. She’s in the early stages of a collection of essays about different parts of her life—not a memoir, she’s quick to clarify. “I don’t have a body of life and work, and I’m not Malala. I’m just a model who’s a size 12,” she says. “But I’ve had some weird stuff. This is a weird job.”
On a summer afternoon earlier this year, she’s curled up barefoot in an armchair in a Brooklyn studio, having just wrapped a video shoot for WSJ. In conversation, she speaks candidly about topics ranging from grief to heartbreak. Part of the reason she’s compiling her prose is to take control of her story. “The way I look at work is: Let’s say I lost all my memories, I can always look back at these things, and they exist,” she says, referring to the multitudinous shoots she’s done since breaking into the industry in 2015. “I want to be the arbiter of those things.”
Elsesser, who has walked the runway for fashion houses including Michael Kors and Marni, as well as modeled in campaigns for companies like H&M, Glossier and VS Collective, part of the Victoria’s Secret rebrand, possesses a natural cool that comes through in her personal style, as well as in her work and her Instagram. There, she’s equally likely to post a shot of her Met Gala outfit (a corseted Coach gown inspired by Courtney Love) as she is a vibey travel slideshow with friends.
Off duty, Elsesser’s clothing is equal parts stylish and playful. One of her current projects is her second collaborative collection with Miaou, her friend Alexia Elkaim’s brand of boldly patterned clothes. She is also working with Vans, both modeling in the new campaign and taking on a creative director role.
Elsesser has a lot of industry friends—models like Bella Hadid, Precious Lee and Imaan Hammam—as well as ones who keep a lower profile. “Having these long-term friendships that have gone through stuff like drug addiction, grief, loss…and still being able to weather that,” says Elsesser, “it’s taught me more than any romantic relationship, tenfold.”
Says Lee, “I get protective of her when we work together—I make sure to see how she’s feeling, where her heart is, and check in no matter how hectic it is backstage or on set.”
Elsesser is also close with her three siblings: her older sister, director Kanyessa McMahon, as well as her younger brother, skateboarder, rapper and model Sage, and younger sister, Ama, who’s also a model. From a young age, Elsesser, whose mother is African-American and father is Chilean and Swiss (both are artists), felt different from her wealthier, mostly white private-school peers. She was lonely sometimes, but she says she developed a critical and curious lens as a result
As a child and teenager growing up in L.A., Elsesser was frequently the subject of her sister Kanyessa’s photography. “She was the first person to show me what I looked like,” says Elsesser. Being in front of the camera felt natural. But she never dreamed of becoming a model. When she moved to NYC for college at the New School in 2010, she studied psychology and literature, with the desire to become a child psychologist. In 2014, her friend Stevie Dance, a photographer and filmmaker, took photos of Elsesser to send to modeling agencies. Although all of them declined to represent Elsesser, she wasn’t upset. “I didn’t fit into what the archetypal plus-size woman was in the industry,” says Elsesser, who describes that type as “buxom and really sexy,” whereas she is 5 feet 7 inches and was wearing hoodies and Reeboks to meetings. “What were they going to do with me?”
Six months later, she was on a tour bus, helping manage and handle merchandise for the rapper Earl Sweatshirt, her friend, when she got a life-changing call. A friend was working for the celebrity makeup artist Pat McGrath, who wanted Elsesser to model her new makeup line, Pat McGrath Labs. Today, Elsesser says she can still hear McGrath’s words of encouragement during the photo shoot (“Amazing, amazing!”) echoing around a studio on 23rd Street. “[Paloma] had the timeless beauty of a Hollywood starlet but the style of a modern icon,” says McGrath on casting Elsesser.
“[Pat] said, ‘You have the perfect face for makeup,’ and it was so gratifying because it wasn’t like I was there to be the plus-size girl,” says Elsesser. “If she believes in me, anyone could.”
After that, Elsesser signed with IMG and began doing e-commerce shoots. In 2018, two major milestones followed: her first iD cover and a group cover for British Vogue. When Edward Enninful, the editor in chief of British Vogue, met Elsesser before the shoot, he was immediately drawn to her energy. “We knew she had that thing,” says Enninful, “that star quality.”
Elsesser has been critical of the fashion industry, particularly its issues with race and size diversity, as well as a lack of empathy for those working in it. “Being more conscious that when someone’s killing it, they might literally be killing themselves” would make a big difference, she says.
Earlier this year, her 30th birthday, on April 12, marked an important turning point. She woke up at 7 a.m., meditated naked for 30 minutes and started “journaling my little 30-year-old heart out.” It had been a big year for her, and a hard one. She’d bought her first house, gone through a big breakup and was dating for the first time in years. “It felt like, I’m alone here, and I wasn’t going to die from it,” she says of the period. (She has a boyfriend now.) She’d also recently had an abortion. “I feel like we need to be more honest [about these experiences],” she says. “I want babies, I just didn’t want one then and with that person. Knowing how…afraid and alone I felt in that process, what must a person going through it completely alone with no finances and choices feel? It’s beyond horrifying.”
The year had rocked her, but that birthday felt different. “I felt…I don’t need a boyfriend, I don’t need this job. I have everything I ever wanted,” she says. “It allowed me to…feel like enough for once. And I really felt that—for the first time ever.”
Here beginns the second item:
Laurene Powell Jobs Is Giving It Her All
With Emerson Collective, Powell Jobs is challenging the traditional divide between entrepreneurship, investment and philanthropy.
“Money is the fuel for our work,” Powell Jobs says about Emerson Collective. “I really don’t want it to be used as leverage.”
By Elisa Lipsky-Karasz Sept. 28, 2022 | Photography by David Sims for WSJ. Magazine | Styling by Karl Templer
Laurene Powell Jobs doesn’t tend to court the limelight. Over the past decade, she’s given only 10 interviews for publication. So why speak now, when there’s hardly a pressing reason for her to take the public stage?
“My main reason is to cut through the misunderstanding and misconceptions,” says Powell Jobs—the ones about her 11-year-old organization, Emerson Collective, which is part philanthropy, part Sand Hill Road venture-capital powerhouse, part artistic patronage and part immigration-education-environmental advocacy group. It’s easy to see why people might be curious. It doesn’t help that most of Emerson’s giving has been anonymous, she says.
“There’s this sense that we’re not transparent and [are] secretive…. That couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Powell Jobs, 58. She says Emerson’s unnamed donations, for example, circumvent the usual grantor-grantee power imbalance. “Money is the fuel for our work. I really don’t want it to be used as leverage. I don’t want it to be used as power,” she says. “Sometimes there is an unhealthy dynamic between the donors and the people receiving the donation,” she adds. “Having money as a tool to try to manifest goodness, it’s a gift. I take it very, very seriously.”
When her husband, Steve Jobs, the revered co-founder of Apple, died in 2011, his trust, which included significant positions in the Walt Disney Company and Apple Inc., passed to Powell Jobs, who was the sole trustee. The two of them had spent countless hours talking about what to do with their fortune. There wasn’t an obvious answer. Putting their names on something—a building, a charity, a company—was not something that appealed to them. Nor was accumulating wealth for its own sake. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful…, that’s what matters to me,” Jobs told The Wall Street Journal in 1993.
“We discussed that I would try to do my very best based on the life and the love that we had and our shared values,” says Powell Jobs, who transferred a portion of the trust’s holdings to Emerson Collective. When he died, their three children were still in school, and the family’s home in Palo Alto, California, became a pilgrimage site for Jobs’s mourners and idolators—which only reinforced Powell Jobs’s determination to protect her children and allow them some freedom from what she calls the “loaded dynamics” of money, power and fame.
“I thought I would use this wealth to the very best of my ability and continue to learn as much as I possibly could, but to do it while I was alive rather than leave it to my kids,” says Powell Jobs. She has since diversified the original trust’s investments, she says.
“Growing wealth is not interesting to me,” she says. “What’s interesting to me is working with people and listening to them and helping to solve problems. I also felt that given my life experiences, I was in a place where I was old enough that I knew I wasn’t going to change—I wasn’t going to get corrupted. I felt I was in a good place to try to deploy it.”
“I knew I could do it,” she says. “And I knew I would do it and honour [Steve] and me.”
American philanthropy is currently a $485 billion sector. The U.S. is typically ranked among the most generous countries in the world, an impulse inherited from the Puritans and woven into the country’s social fabric—spurred on by tax incentives inaugurated in 1917. Many of today’s mega-donors don’t differ significantly from George Peabody—a 19th-century self-made banker who made a then-groundbreaking decision to give away about half of his $16 million fortune, in large part to fund antipoverty projects in the U.K. and the American South. Peabody was followed by such figures as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, and eventually, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, who together created the Giving Pledge in 2010, promising to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable activities. For most of the past two centuries, the standard procedure has been to give away money to someone else or to run a charity oneself.
For years Powell Jobs had had an idea to try something different by combining two practices that U.S. regulators have typically kept separate: for-profit investing and philanthropy. She had previously co-founded College Track, an Oakland, California–based nonprofit that identifies and assists underserved and often undocumented youth with college entrance, graduation and job readiness. Although College Track now makes a 10-year commitment to each student it supports and operates in four states and Washington, D.C., Powell Jobs says she’s witnessed firsthand just how complex and entangled the problems affecting disadvantaged communities are. She wanted to develop an approach that went beyond offering handouts and invested in solutions that addressed inequities at their roots.
With that in mind, Emerson Collective was established as a limited liability company, not a charitable foundation. The name is a reference to Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose quote she borrows as a slogan of sorts: “In one soul, in your soul, there are resources for the world.” Foundations carry restrictions that dramatically limit the ability to make investments, and face broad reporting requirements to maintain their tax-exempt status. LLCs, which have become a favorite of the wealthy for myriad purposes from buying homes to running family offices, are more agile and discreet. They also don’t require explanatory paperwork to be filed for every financial move—though, like any for-profit structure, they are subject to income tax.
And so this seemingly small legal maneuver allows Emerson, as it’s often called in shorthand, to invest in a wide range of ventures—from Joby Aviation, an electric-aircraft rideshare startup, to the 165-year-old Atlantic magazine. “We can find the most compelling use for the dollar without any restrictions,” says Powell Jobs, who brings a venture-capital mindset to finding and supporting charismatic non-profit founders with big ideas. Most of what they think about at Emerson, she adds, is “how you can come and wrap around problems, issues, domains, so that in totality, it combines in a symbiotic way and rolls up to some really lasting changes.”
Emerson’s investment portfolio tends to focus on companies dedicated to lowering barriers to entry in healthcare and education, tackling climate change and immigration issues or expanding the availability of financial services to underserved communities. This can mean investing in well-known financial startups such as Stripe and Chime or giving grants to the Hope Credit Union, which operates in areas without banking services across Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
“Sometimes there is an unhealthy dynamic between the donors and the people receiving the donation.”— LAURENE POWELL JOBS
At the same time, the collective supports projects raising cultural awareness, including a massive 2017 art installation by the French artist JR at the U.S.-Mexican border at Tecate, Mexico, depicting the eyes of Mayra, a young female migrant with impaired vision who received healthcare in the U.S. via the DACA program.
“I believe deeply that the way we do work could be helpful to other people who are looking to work in the social sector,” says Powell Jobs. “Integrating venture investing or private equity or any kind of for-profit investing and then advocacy, artists, activists and philanthropy—all of it—can be done in a much more comprehensive way.”
“Most people in the nonprofit space sort of stick to their lane, whereas she recognizes that all of these things are so interconnected,” says Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who first met Powell Jobs in 1998. “Her goals, her ambition, the boldness—being an entrepreneur, which is so key in the Valley, and also doing great work that changes the world…I believe it will make a really big difference.”
On a block of Chicago’s South Side, wedged between one-story brick houses, is a modest peaked structure with stained-glass panels that face the traffic of East 95th Street. A cement path leads to an unmarked metal door painted a wan beige. This is the entrance to the Missing Peace Church of Living Hope, where inside a group of women crowd into a clergy office, all sharing stories that have common threads: gangs, drugs, incarceration and young children to care for. Now these autobiographies include GEDs, recovery, jobs and expunged criminal records.
This women’s group is one of the newer initiatives run by Chicago CRED—which stands for Create Real Economic Destiny—a six-year-old anti-gun-violence nonprofit funded by Emerson, which is active in the city’s most violent areas (last year, there were 3,558 shooting incidents in Chicago). Chicago CRED brokers local cease-fires, recruits young teens before they become gang fodder and provides tutoring, job training, life coaching and employment for parolees and gang members. It was co-founded by Obama-administration education secretary Arne Duncan, a South Side native who lost a childhood friend in a shooting.
When he was leaving the cabinet in 2015, Duncan says he met with around 250 people to discuss his next steps. Over a series of conversations, Duncan and Powell Jobs came up with an enticing scenario, for Emerson Collective to offer financial support for what would become Chicago CRED. “It’s going to be hard. I can’t promise you that I’m going to succeed,” Duncan told her.
Powell Jobs had little experience in tackling gun violence but she was game. “I’ll never forget what she said: ‘I want to take on some of society’s most intractable problems for the next 25 to 30 years,’ ” says Duncan. “She’s a real risk-taker.”
“The outcomes in this case are very stark,” Powell Jobs says. “They are really: Do the individuals survive and thrive, or do they not?”
Chicago CRED is one of two private operating foundations backed by Emerson Collective. The other is XQ Institute, which is focused on innovating high school education and was co-founded by Powell Jobs in 2015—again inspired in part by Powell Jobs’s College Track experience. She had met Russlynn Ali, XQ’s CEO, in 2006, a few years before she became U.S. assistant secretary of education for civil rights during Obama’s first term.
“In the early years, I felt like I was hitting my head against the wall,” Powell Jobs says, especially when presented with data that she felt reflected much higher school graduation rates than were accurate, or when she was poring over individual student transcripts and realized ninth graders were taking seventh-grade classes and falling into a track that would have them trailing their peers for the rest of their education.
She and Ali traveled across the country to do field visits and meet with community leaders, students, families and educators. “Everywhere we went, we heard young people say over and over, ‘We want to be ready for the world,’ ” says Ali.
To that end, XQ ran an open-call competition in 2016 awarding USD 100 million to launch 10 new high schools across the country from community-led proposals; currently it’s partnering with the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching to reassess units of classroom time as the primary measurement for school credits (the “bodies in seats” metric, Ali says). Now she and Powell Jobs connect every Sunday, either on Zoom or in Powell Jobs’s living room, where they often spread out materials on the floor. Their goal is to support the creation of high schools that are a model and inspiration for others—resources that Ali calls “open source”—echoing the central Emerson philosophy that everything is interconnected.
“If we change high school, we can change the future workforce for a complex competitive world. We can change the poverty rate and the inequity of incarceration,” says Ali. “We can reach not just the 50 million kids enrolled in public school, but the hundreds of millions who will follow them and the billions of people worldwide that they will impact.”
Dawn Lippert, who as Emerson’s senior adviser on climate oversees Elemental Excelerator, one of its environmental initiatives, says that Powell Jobs constantly pushes her. “It’s not just, ‘Great, that’s working so well,’ ” Lippert says. The feedback she gets, she says, is typically, “I think we can do more, I think we can have a greater impact, and I think you personally can do more.” Or else Powell Jobs will ask, “What would it look like to do this at a larger scale? What’s holding us back? How can we get this to work faster?”
Powell Jobs grew up in West Milford, New Jersey, a rural township in the northernmost part of the state that was once home to mining operations and ironworks. Her father, a pilot in the Marine Corps, died when she was 3. Her mother made ends meet, but there was not much money for college. Determined to move on, Powell Jobs made it to the University of Pennsylvania, funding her tuition through a combination of savings, loans, work study, scholarships and support from her family.
After graduating from Wharton, she worked at Merrill Lynch in asset management before landing a job at Goldman Sachs on the fixed-income desk, where she was one of the few female analysts—and one of the few women period. Realizing she was more interested in becoming an entrepreneur than making it on Wall Street, she headed West to Stanford’s business school in 1989, when she was 25. (Her application essay was a proposal for how to popularize literary fiction—this was in the pre-Amazon days.) “I wanted to come here because this was the place where new things were happening,” she says.
Soon after she arrived, Steve Jobs, then 34 and running NeXT (he had been pushed out of Apple), was slated to give a talk at the business school. On a whim she attended, and wound up sitting next to him in the auditorium. It was a meet-cute for the tech age.
“He plopped down and had this shaggy hair…. We started chatting, this easy banter, and he was very adorable,” she says. “I didn’t actually realize who he was, but when he got up and spoke onstage he was just absolutely magnetic. It was so brilliant and thrilling. I was very compelled by him.” After the talk ended, he ran out to the parking lot to find her. Both of them blew off their plans and had dinner together. She says, “We talked and talked and talked. We were together henceforth.
“It was exciting—and he lived in a whole other domain that I didn’t know anything about. So it was endlessly interesting,” she says. The two married in 1991.
Within a year, she was running her own startup, a natural food company called Terravera, and bringing their baby son, Reed, to work with her. (Four years later, Erin arrived, followed by Eve in 1998). In 1996, Powell Jobs gave a talk at Carlmont High School and soon realized that students needed more long-term, focused attention, which a year later gave rise to College Track. “I went through the public education system, and it worked for me,” says Powell Jobs. She wanted to offer others the same opportunities she’d had. It was an idea that altered the course of her life as well.
“I think being so proximate to death has been a great gift for me. [Because of my father,] I grew up understanding that death can happen at a young age. And I also obviously was with Steve on his journey,” she says. “So I understand the gift of each day—the gift that is life. We are not promised life and then we don’t know how long it is. So [I’m able] to cherish it and be really clear about what is my highest and best use as long as I’m here,” she says. “What good stuff can I do that would be useful and meaningful? That is a driving force in my life.”
She says that she and her husband shared the opinion that having access to great riches changed people—and not for the better. “That was a really important point for him. It wasn’t only that people changed their environment. He felt that they lost their purpose.”
It’s a point she continually returns to. “I’m very aware that I’m searching for, What is the purpose?” she says. “I’m always thinking I can do more. I can be more.”
From top: The Row sweater, $950, Net-A-Porter.com, and shirt, $1,690, TheRow.com; Celine by Hedi Slimane jacket, $2,950, and shirt, $940, Celine.com; Celine by Hedi Slimane jacket, $2,950, Celine.com, and The Row shirt, $1,690, TheRow.com.
This is the start of the third feature
Ghosts of New York’s Glamorous Past Haunt an Empty Pub
A bar from the Stork Club, once a gathering spot for Grace Kelly, Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, collects dust in a downtown tavern that went out of business.
By Alex Vadukul from thje New York Times Published Sept. 25, 2022
Updated Sept. 26, 2022
Alex Vadukul is a city correspondent for The New York Times. He writes for Styles and is a three-time winner of the New York Press Club award for city writing and a three-time winner of Silurians Press Club medallions for his feature writing. He was a longtime writer for Sunday Metropolitan and has been a reporter on the Obituaries desk.
There’s an old Irish pub in Manhattan’s financial district, Jim Brady’s, that closed at the start of the pandemic and has been sitting empty ever since. The stockbrokers and construction workers who once drank there now walk past with indifference.
But peer through the sooty windows and you’ll see a relic of glamorous midcentury New York — a mahogany bar adorned with floral carvings that is said to have belonged to the Stork Club, a fabled nightspot whose customers included Grace Kelly, Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor, J. Edgar Hoover, Marilyn Monroe and members of the Roosevelt and Kennedy families.
Those who made it past the gold-chained entrance stepped into a place where the cult of modern American celebrity was arguably born. From Table 50, the journalist Walter Winchell gathered materials for his nationally syndicated gossip column and radio show, ensuring that the Stork Club’s legend loomed large.
The mahogany bar at Jim Brady’s, which improbably ended up there in the 1970s, now collects dust in obscurity.
“It’s still in there, the original Stork Club bar,” Paul Quinn, the former owner of Jim Brady’s, said in an interview. “I was there when the pub opened, and it became known to our regulars that we had a piece of New York history.
“The bar had been in storage for years,” he continued, “and the founders of Jim Brady’s purchased it and brought it down piece by piece.”
Mr. Quinn, who started working at Jim Brady’s as a bartender almost 50 years ago, said he would have taken the bar with him when his tavern went out of business, but his lease stipulated that the fixtures had to remain on the premises.
“I took pride in taking care of it all those years,” he said. “Once a man called me and asked, ‘Is it true?’ I told him, ‘Yeah, it is.’ So he came down to look at it. He touched the wood and felt the bar. I could tell it meant a lot to him. He’d gone to the Stork long ago.”
Today the Stork Club’s lore is of interest mainly to New York history buffs, but during its reign, what happened in the Cub Room — its windowless inner sanctum — riveted the American public.
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco mingled at the Stork Club just before news of their engagement circulated the globe. Ernest Hemingway got into a brawl there with the warden of Sing Sing. John F. Kennedy brought dates there — Jacqueline Bouvier and, later, Marilyn Monroe.
The fantasia was orchestrated by the club’s owner, Sherman Billingsley, a former bootlegger from rural Oklahoma who reinvented himself as a nightlife impresario. He wore gold cuff links and watches, uttered regionalisms like “golly” in conversation with stars and used secret hand signals to telegraph messages to his staff that ranged from “Bring a bottle of Champagne” to “Not Important People.”
“I have seen mothers steal their daughters’ boyfriends and marry them,” Mr. Billingsley wrote in an unpublished memoir. “I have seen girls steal their sisters’ boyfriends and marry them. In one case the loser went insane. I know one father that was familiar with his son’s wife. These were all high-society folks.”
Founded in 1929, and closed in 1965, the Stork Club’s three successive Midtown Manhattan addresses rode out the Great Depression, World War II, the arrival of Elvis and the start of the Vietnam War.
Its first iteration was a speakeasy that Mr. Billingsley operated with mobsters before it was smashed up and shut down by federal agents enforcing Prohibition laws. Its second location had the beginnings of his opulent vision, drawing fans like Winchell and the underworld boss Frank Costello. This iteration survived past Prohibition’s end in 1933, leading Mr. Billingsley to move the Stork Club to its final and most famed address, 3 East 53rd Street.
The first location is now a Greek restaurant, the second is an office building, and the third was demolished to make way for the pocket-size Paley Park.
The bar that ended up at Jim Brady’s is said to have come from an early Stork Club location. For decades, it was admired mostly by its happy-hour regulars. A replica of a vintage Stork Club menu — featuring dishes like green turtle soup for $1.50 and stuffed Cornish hen à la Walter Winchell for $5.75 — sat near the Jim Brady’s cash register.
The bar’s presence at Jim Brady’s was noted in articles published in Time Out and Shecky’s Bar, Club & Lounge Guide that were displayed in its window. It was also mentioned in New York history books like William B. Helmreich’s “The Manhattan Nobody Knows.” A financial district walking tour would stop in to gawk at the bar on weekends. Still taped to a wall inside the pub is an old flier with a picture of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe drinking at the nightspot. It notes: “Did you know that Jim Brady’s is home to the World Famous Stork Club Bar?”
Mr. Billingsley’s last living child, Shermane, 77, has been a custodian of the Stork Club’s legacy since her father died in 1966, and she visited Jim Brady’s long ago to see the bar for herself. “The story about this bar ending up at this pub was always circulating, so I went down to take a look, and what I saw felt right to me,” she recalled. “I sat down for dinner in a booth and remained anonymous until I left. Then I told them who I was.”
Reminiscing about her visits to the Stork Club as a teenager, she said: “It was something I can’t honestly compare to another place today. It had glamour and an intellectual fervor to it. I’d sit with my dad and he might say, ‘Shermane, I want you to meet Jackie Gleason.’ Or it was Cary Grant. Or Yul Brynner or one of the Hearsts.”
Earlier this month, Ms. Billingsley visited Jim Brady’s again with a reporter from The New York Times, and she brought along her younger son and a cousin, who once danced as a teenager at her father’s club. A petite and elegant woman, Ms. Billingsley arrived wearing sunglasses, Chanel ballet flats and a gold ring given to her by her father that depicts the club’s mascot, a stork with a monocle and a top hat.
Studying the bar, she considered an ornamental carving that read, “J.B.” The founders of Jim Brady’s were told when they acquired the bar that the initials were a dedication to Mr. Billingsley’s daughter, Jacqueline.
“She was the first daughter,” Ms. Billingsley said. “She was incredibly important to him. This isn’t surprising to me.”
Then she grew somber.
“I was there when the Stork Club closed,” she said. “Everyone said it was the unions that caused its demise. But it was James Dean. It was black boots and jeans. It was the arrival of the new world.”
By the late 1950s, the Stork Club began to erode into irrelevance. Several incidents hastened its decline.
Mr. Billingsley’s vociferous anti-union stance led to a bitter yearslong strike and the loss of longtime staff members. The rising popularity of TV was luring even the most social of socialites to stay in and watch “I Love Lucy” and “Gunsmoke” rather than go out on the town. And a flashy new era of gambling-based nightlife was taking off in Las Vegas, Miami and Havana.
Ms. Baker, who rose to stardom in the music halls and cabarets of Paris, went in that evening with friends and sat down at a table in the Cub Room. After ordering, Ms. Baker said, she and her dining companions were ignored for an hour. She was eventually informed that the kitchen was out of the steak and crab cocktails she had asked for.
Ms. Baker headed to a phone booth to report the indignity to her lawyer and a deputy police commissioner. As she settled back into her seat, the club learned of these calls, and a waiter rushed out her steak. Ms. Baker refused to eat it.
The incident dominated the city’s headlines for days. The N.A.A.C.P. picketed the club, and protesters carried signs reading “Famous Nite Spot Just a White Spot.” Ms. Baker sparred in the press with Mr. Winchell, accusing him of not coming to her aid in the Cub Room. He retaliated by exposing rumors of her communist sympathies to the F.B.I., resulting in the cancellation of her upcoming shows, the revocation of her visa and her return to France.
In the aftermath, some of the Stork Club’s patrons began distancing themselves from the club, and it staggered toward the decade of revolutionary change ahead. By the end, it was promoting itself with a hamburger and fries deal for USD 1.99, and the live band was replaced by a sound system. A year to the day that his club closed, Mr. Billingsley died of a heart attack.
“By the time it closed, it wasn’t the famous Stork Club anymore,” said Ralph Blumenthal, a former Times reporter and the author of “Stork Club: America’s Most Famous Nightspot and the Lost World of Café Society.” “But it was also the end of a whole era. It wasn’t just the Stork, it was places like El Morocco and the Colony. The way people wanted to go out had changed.”
“It’s an interesting fact that pieces of New York have a life after death,” he said of the bar at Jim Brady’s. “A bar encapsulates the Stork Club’s history, in a way, because everything that happened there happened around the alcohol.”
The pub’s founders bought the Stork Club bar at an auction in the mid-1970s, after it had been languishing in storage for years, according to five former Jim Brady’s employees and associates. These Irish restaurateurs — Desmond Crofton, Terry O’Neill and Gerry Toner — ran an empire of Manhattan pubs that included the Abbey Tavern and the Green Derby.
When opening Jim Brady’s, they enlisted two other founding business partners: another restaurateur, Roy Barnard, and the noted Dublin-born balladeer Michael Jesse Owens, who performed tunes like “Whiskey in the Jar” beside the relic at night.
“We were proud to have the Stork bar,” said Mr. Owens, who, at age 87, is the group’s last living member. “But to a lot of us Irish, it was also just a bar. Still, it’s a pity to hear it’s just collecting dust now.”
At Jim Brady’s, the ancient bar became a gathering spot for a different New York. Peter O’Toole nursed pints of Guinness there, and the newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin drank at the bar once as he killed time waiting to be contacted by David Berkowitz, the murderer known as Son of Sam.
As the decades passed, and Jim Brady’s became a financial district institution, the old bar serviced Super Bowl parties and rowdy brunches. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, a wall of tribute to regulars who died during them was installed near it.
In 2020, when the pandemic seized New York, Jim Brady’s closed because of a rent hike that Mr. Quinn said he couldn’t afford. The pub’s final evening of service was on St. Patrick’s Day. Its staff gave out corned beef to longtime customers and then gathered for a drink by the bar before hitting out the lights. Earlier this year, briefly, the vacated tavern saw life again when it was used as a Covid-19 testing centre. Visitors had swabs shoved up their nostrils beside a hunk of wood that was around during the polio epidemic.
“I considered it an honour to serve drinks on it,” said Joe O’Dea, a former Jim Brady’s bartender. “I don’t know if I have some profound thought on it still being in there, though. Maybe it teaches you not to be sentimental about things in New York.”
“I wonder what will become of it now,” Mr. Quinn said last week, peering through his old pub’s windows. “It’ll probably end up in some dumpster truck.”
As it happens, the bar’s fate may be at hand.
A.M. Property, the real estate group that represents the building that housed Jim Brady’s, 75 Maiden Lane, is a family-run company that owns two other office buildings in the financial district. Its president, Paul Wasserman, said in an interview that an elementary school is interested in leasing the space.
“It might not be around much longer,” he said. “I don’t think a school will have much use for a bar.”
“I didn’t know the bar was from the Stork Club, and I’m of the generation that knows what the Stork Club once was,” Mr. Wasserman continued. “Still, I’m not nostalgic about this bar in any shape or form. Time marches on in New York. The only constant here is change.”
“Today is no different,” he added. “And tomorrow won’t be either.”
NEWSLETTER of last Week
Securing Europe’s competitiveness: Addressing its technology gap – The Coolest Boutique Hotel in Stockholm Doubles in Size – Underwire and Push-Up Bra Sales Signal a ‘Return to Sexy’ – Fashion: Are You Too Old to Wear That Now? https://textile-future.com/archives/97036
Highlights of the News of last week, for your convenience, just click on the item to read.
New Look for AATCC Meetings https://textile-future.com/archives/97023
Seizing growth opportunities in Bulgarian TCLF industries https://textile-future.com/archives/97172
Citroën and BASF unveil electric concept car oli https://textile-future.com/archives/97368
Lenzing named sustainability champion for the second time https://textile-future.com/archives/97178
Swiss Empa Innovation Award 2022 for spin-off viboo – An innovation that helps save heating costs https://textile-future.com/archives/97395
How Constance Wu Survived That Tweetstorm https://textile-future.com/archives/97146
Swiss Georg Fischer (GF) hosts Capital Markets Day, focus on sustainable innovations https://textile-future.com/archives/97204
Employment in sport in the EU https://textile-future.com/archives/97006
The McKinsey week in Charts https://textile-future.com/archives/97027
EU tourism getting closer to 2019 levels https://textile-future.com/archives/97198
Reductions in pig and bovine populations in the EU https://textile-future.com/archives/97210
OECD Interim Economic Outlook warns of pervasive global economic slowdown https://textile-future.com/archives/97270
Sold production of high-tech increased by 11% in EU https://textile-future.com/archives/97311
EU Employment up, labour market slack down in Q2 2022 https://textile-future.com/archives/97320
Swiss retail trade turnover rose in August 2022 by 5.4 % https://textile-future.com/archives/97430
HeiQ participates in show in Taiwan https://textile-future.com/archives/97216
Reifenhäuser Group at K-Show 2022 (Oct. 19-26, 2022) in Duesseldof, Germany https://textile-future.com/archives/97440
Burberry spring/summer 2023 collection https://textile-future.com/archives/97227
REAL TIME ECONOMICS https://textile-future.com/archives/97105
European Research and Innovation Days started on September 28, 2022, focusing on how research and innovation can help achieve Europe’s priorities https://textile-future.com/archives/97297
Cyber Daily: Cyberattack on InterContinental Hotels Disrupts Business at Franchisees https://textile-future.com/archives/97140
Wipo: Hague System News: Fourteenth Edition of the Locarno Classification https://textile-future.com/archives/97094
Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin to travel to India on economic and scientific mission https://textile-future.com/archives/97383
GBP 6.1 million funding boost to accelerate digitalisation among textile manufacturers https://textile-future.com/archives/97262
Burberry Board Change https://textile-future.com/archives/97013
What Hemingway Left in Sloppy Joe’s Bar 80 Years Ago https://textile-future.com/archives/97114
Roku scores Fox Entertainment chief Charlie Collier as media president https://textile-future.com/archives/97167
BURBERRY appoints DANIEL LEE as New Chief Creative Officer – Riccardo Tisci to step down https://textile-future.com/archives/97275
Heimtextil, Techtextil and Texprocess with a new management team https://textile-future.com/archives/97288
The European Commission appoints three new Directors for its Directorate-General for Climate Action https://textile-future.com/archives/97302
BASF introduces X3DTM, a revolutionary catalyst shaping technology for optimised catalyst performance https://textile-future.com/archives/97329
BASF offers neopentyl glycol and propionic acid with product carbon footprint of zero https://textile-future.com/archives/97410
Functional and trendy – HEIDELBERG relies on Ultramid® housing material for new AMPERFIED wallbox generation https://textile-future.com/archives/97424
Swiss Empa: High-tech for quieter tracks” – Cushions” against rail noise and vibrations https://textile-future.com/archives/97186
EURATEX and partners launch the new Horizon Europe innovation project on circular & sustainable textiles https://textile-future.com/archives/97194
Swiss Cheese Awards
The Swiss Cheese Awards Sept. 23, 2022 in Le Chàble (CH) https://textile-future.com/archives/97155
Switzerland streamlines its engagement with the international commodity organisations https://textile-future.com/archives/97284
Switzerland and the World Bank step up their support for developing countries to cope with the impact of the pandemic https://textile-future.com/archives/97413
Swiss Federal Council commissions revision of Financial Market https://textile-future.com/archives/97419
BBC DG: ‘Not strapped to one funding mechanic’ https://textile-future.com/archives/97354
RTVE president steps down – Elena Sánchez named new President https://textile-future.com/archives/97360
Warehouse digital Migration
Supply Chain: What Waterstones can teach us about warehouse digital migration https://textile-future.com/archives/97099
WIPO Webinar on Stream Ripping and Music Piracy (Sept. 29, 2022) https://textile-future.com/archives/97088
WIPO Webinar: In Depth Look at the Change in Ownership Online Service (September 28, 2022) https://textile-future.com/archives/97137
The Crisis Facing Development – Speech of Group President David Malpass before the 2022 Annual Meetings https://textile-future.com/archives/97400
Investment in insect repellent fabrics and clothing development ramps up as climate change causes biting insects to migrate to more temperate regions and insects build resistance to chemical insecticides
With right tools and policies, women can break the glass ceiling in trade — WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala https://textile-future.com/archives/97435