1920’s – Rudolph Valentino and NY Speakeasies

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Rudolph Valentino was a native New Yorker till the end of his days frequently returning to a place of friends, business connections, and favorite hang-outs. In the 1920’s, Rudolph Valentino was no different than any other famous man about town going to many famous establishments for dinner and entertainment. At the time, Speakeasy’s were the norm with over 30,000 in the city alone. There were a couple of speakeasy’s that were favorite places of his to visit the King Cole room at the Knickerbocker Hotel on West 42nd Street, and the 300 Club, at 151 W. 54th Street. Both were underground and successfully ran and the favorite hang-out of the rich, politicians, broadway and silent film actors of the day. The King Cole Room was famous for the invention of the Bloody Mary. Also, there is a lifelike picture of “Old King Cole and His Fiddlers Three” from the brush of Maxfield Parrish that still exists today. The walls and ceilings in the establishment were fitted in oak paneling and the tables were elaborately carved.
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The 300 Club named for the maximum amount of people allowed in the establishment. It was a place where Hollywood and NY agents would gather to meet with up and coming talent. Larry Fay who owned his own speakeasy on West 47th Street was able to convince his friend Texas Guinan to open her own establishment. The 300 Club was small and exclusive and a new home to city’s status elite. but the entertainment offered was very erotic for the time in the form of fan dancers. For more information please read Allen Ellenberger’s Book “The Valentino Mystique”.
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