Christmas at the Vanderbilt Museum

We are pleased to announce that Harbor Homestead is decorating a room in the Eagles Nest mansion at the Vanderbilt Museum for Christmas.  Our theme is New York's legendary nightclub, "El Morocco", a favorite haunt of Mr. & Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt in the 1930's and 1940's.  The Vanderbilt's are hosting guests, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and heading to Manhattan for an evening of holiday cocktails and dancing at the El Morocco.  

Famous for its blue zebra upholstered banquettes and endless parade of celebrities, socialites and politicians, the "El Morocco" embodies the glamour and opulence of this bygone era.  
Marlene Dietrich at El Morocco

Clark Gable

Clark Gable again...why not?

Frank Sinatra

We are hard at work re-creating the essence of the El Morocco. Here is a sneak peek at our handmade paper palm fronds that will be used for the palm tree's we're constructing.

All expenses are out of pocket for this volunteer project so we're trying to keep our costs down.  Large, heavy sheets of paper and sugar glitter kept the cost of our palm fronds under $20.  There will be lots more details, including tour dates and times, available next week.

As an aside, we really enjoyed immersing ourselves on the history of the El Morocco.  Notably, it was the first to use a velvet rope, changing nightclub protocol forever.   But here is our favorite legend...

Humphrey Bogart was notoriously banned from El Morocco for life for a late night altercation involving with two young ladies and a pair of large stuffed animals.  Bogart and his drinking buddy brought panda bears to El Morocco and when the ladies attempted to make off with the pandas, a shoving match ensued.  Allegedly, first with one of the ladies and then with her gangster boyfriend. 
Bogart was in court the next morning to face charges of assault and battery. Flippant and cool, he suggested the ladies were merely publicity seekers and the pandas had done them no wrong. The case was dismissed. At least in the eyes of the law.
Asked by the press if he was “stiff” during the incidence, Bogart replied, “Who isn’t at 3 o’clock in the morning? So we get stiff once in a while. This is a free country isn’t it? I can take my panda any place I want to. And if I want to buy it a drink, that’s my business.” And besides, he said, “Errol Flynn and I are the only ones left who do any good old hell raising.”
The president of New York’s Society of Restaurateurs responded with dire threats, telling the press that Bogart, Errol Flynn and any other celebrity hell-raisers would get the “bum’s rush” if they dared “get stiff and raise hell” in a New York restaurant, club or bar. Bogart was then promptly banned for life from the El Morocco and a dozen other clubs in town, adding to his rather impressive list in Los Angeles.

Eagles Nest
The Spanish Revival Mansion with its 24 rooms was built in three stages from 1910 until 1936. Rooms in the historic house are on exhibit and exemplify the eclectic taste and collecting interests of William K. Vanderbilt II. The mansion was designed by the New York architectural firm Warren & Wetmore, whose Grand Central Station in New York City [1903-13] was designed and built for the New York Central Railroad, one of several Vanderbilt family enterprises. Later additions to the mansion and other estate buildings were executed by architect Ronald H. Pearce, who trained in the office of Warren & Wetmore and continued to make improvements at "Eagle's Nest" after Warren's retirement in 1931.