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.

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Entry from February 28, 2015
Frog Pond (La Grenouille nickname)

La Grenouille (French for “the frog") is a French restaurant at 3 East 52nd Street in Manhattan that opened in 1962. The restaurant became quickly popular with the fashion industry. “Women’s Wear Daily features almost daily illustrated copy on who’s wearing and doing what at ‘the frog pond’” was cited in Newsweek magazine in 1967.

Women’s Wear Daily publisher John Fairchild (1927-2015) might have coined La Grenouille’s “Frog Pond” nickname. WWD stated in Fairchild’s 2015 obituary:

“Fairchild created nicknames for people and places that became part of the industry’s lexicon. (...) La Grenouille, which might have been Fairchild’s favorite restaurant in New York, was the Frog Pond, then Restaurant X.”

La Grenouille has been noted for the “ladies who lunch.”


Wikipedia: La Grenouille (restaurant)
La Grenouille (French: “The Frog") is a historic French restaurant located at 3 East 52nd Street (between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue) in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It was founded by Charles Masson, Sr., a former Henri Soulé apprentice, and Masson’s wife, Gisele in 1962 and quickly became the location of choice among the fashion industry’s most elite designers.

Aside from fine French cuisine, La Grenouille is famous for its lavish floral arrangements, a tradition started by Charles Masson, Sr. and continued by his son, Philippe Masson. It is also the last operating New York French haute cuisine restaurant from the 1960s, a time when it dominated New York City’s French haute cuisine alongside Lutèce, Le Pavillon, La Côte Basque and La Caravelle.

Google Books
Newsweek
Volume 69, Issues 18-26
1967
Pg. 67:
“I extend myself to return the compliment of their coming,” vows Charles Masson, owner of La Grenouille. (...) Women’s Wear Daily features almost daily illustrated copy on who’s wearing and doing what at “the frog pond.”

Google Books
Soundings:
Encounters with Contemporary Books

By Peter S. Prescott
New York, NY: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan
1972
Pg. 308:
The Battle of the Frog Pond; the Frenchies call it La Grenouille.

Google Books
Location Shots
By J. F. Burke
London: Constable
1974
Pg. 66:
If you want elegance for lunch, you go midtown to the “Frog Pond,” as the credit-card set affectionately call La Grenouille, ...

Google News Archive
24 February 1981, The Blade (Toledo, OH), “Off the Grapevine” by Liz Smith, pg. P-3, col. 1:
David claims Woody said this in front of three people in La Grenouille, where the lensman followed the couple. (...) How did a photographer get into a swanky spot like The Frog Pond?

New York (NY) Times
COUNTLESS WAYS TO KEEP COOL AND CULTURED IN NEW YORK; Manhattan With Ice
By Michael Gross
Published: August 21, 1987
(...)
Cool is having the clout to get Mme. Masson to leave her summer vacation and open up her frog pond, La Grenouille, just so you can take a dip.

Google Books
The Fashion Insiders’ Guide to New York
By Carole Sabas
New York, NY: Abrams
2013
Pg. ?:
LA GRENOUILLE 3 E 52nd St., nr Fifth Ave, Midtown Tel. 212.752.1495 John Fairchild, the legendary publisher of WWD, used to call this French establishment the “Frog Pond.”

Twitter
william norwich
‏@williamnorwich
Everyone into the pond “@stevecuozzo: Bloggers take a bath in frog pond” La Grenouille http://NYPOST.com http://nyp.st/15vlojV
10:54 AM - 28 Aug 2013

Twitter
Angela Hanyak
‏@AngelaHanyak
Shake-up at The Frog Pond as Charles Masson leaves La Grenouille: http://ow.ly/v0nEL #nyc
1:54 PM - 26 Mar 2014

New York magazine—Grub Street
March 26, 2014 2:55 p.m. 
La Grenouille’s Charles Masson on His Resignation: It Became ‘Impossible’ to Run the Restaurant
By Hugh Merwin
(...)
COMMENTS
salleast84 Mar 27, 2014
I first went to this wonderful restaurant in 1963 as a treat from my Mother, when I was a newbie to NYC.  It has been a touchstone for me over the years . My husband and I loved looking in the window at Charles arranging flowers an hour or so before we appeared for lunch. When I was young, I knew the lighting & flowers were complimentary But now,, years later, “The Frog Pond, gives me a lift and makes me feel attractive!

WWD
February 27, 2015
John B. Fairchild Dies at 87
By Mort Sheinman
NEW YORK — John B. Fairchild, who transformed Women’s Wear Daily from a trusty but tedious trade publication into a provocative, powerful and whimsical international force — along the way pioneering the coverage that would become standard fixtures of modern-day fashion and celebrity journalism — died Friday morning at age 87 after a long illness.
(...)
Even in his later years, Fairchild never lost a childlike curiosity about everything and everyone, from the latest fashion collections to a new waiter at his favorite restaurant, La Grenouille — where, in its early years, he would sit in the back and see which Ladies Who Lunch would arrive, then rush to the pay phone and call one of his photographers to come right away.
(...)
Fairchild created nicknames for people and places that became part of the industry’s lexicon: Jacqueline Kennedy was Her Elegance, and when she married Aristotle Onassis she became Jackie O, and he was Daddy O; Gloria Guinness was The Ultimate; Lady Bird Johnson (“definitely not a pace setter”) was Her Efficiency and Princess Margaret was Her Drear; Blass was Mr. Fashion Right, Karl Lagerfeld was Kaiser Karl, and Calvin Klein was Calvin Clean. La Grenouille, which might have been Fairchild’s favorite restaurant in New York, was the Frog Pond, then Restaurant X. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Saturday, February 28, 2015 • Permalink