A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“If you have ever eaten chocolate money, you have bit coins” (10/18)
“A quesadilla is essentially a grilled cheese sandwich” (10/18)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/18)
“Speed bumps are just expensive inverted potholes” (10/18)
“If you have ever eaten chocolate money, you have bit coins” (10/18)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from August 07, 2004
The Four Hundred
According to Ward McAllister (1827-1895), in all of New York City, there are only 400 people who really matter. It was later claimed that this "400" was the number of people that Mrs. Astor fit into her ballroom, but that's a myth that was added later.

"The Four Hundred" derives from the following:



25 March 1888, New York Tribune, pg. 11, col. 1:
SECRETS OF BALL-GIVING

A CHAT WITH WARD McALLISTER

HOW HE CAME TO BE A FAMOUS BALL ORGANIZER
- REMINISCENCES OF COTILLON DINNER.
(...)

SOCIETY'S LIMITS NARROWING.

"Why, there are only about 400 people in fashionable New-York society. If you go outside that number you strike people who are either not at ease in a ball-room or else make other people not at ease. See the point? Of course there are any number of the most cultivated and highly respectable, even distinguished, people outside of fashionable society. When we give a large ball like the last New Year's ball for eight hundred guests, we go outside of the exclusive fashionable set and invite professional men, doctors, lawyers, editors, artists and the like. But the day when fortunes admitted men to exclusive society has gone by. Twenty or thirty years ago it was otherwise. But now with the rapid growth of riches millionaires are too common to receive much deference; a fortune of a million is only respectable poverty. So we have to draw social boundaries on another basis; old connections, gentle breeding, perfection in all the requisite accomplishments of a gentleman, elegant leisure and an unstained private reputation count for more than newly gotten riches. You would be surprise3d at the number of apparently eligible men this list of requirements strikes out of consideration. The truth is we are not a nation of Chesterfields and Bayards, Sidneys and Raleighs."


Posted by Barry Popik
Workers/People • (0) Comments • Saturday, August 07, 2004 • Permalink