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The Jazz Age in New York

The 1920’s returned to midtown in the form of The Immersive Great Gatsby at The Mansion, Park Central Hotel(s) in New York City. In case The Great Gatsby wasn’t on your required reading list, let’s set the stage. World War I ended bringing with it a boost to the U.S. economy, consumerism, new technology and industries like the automobile. Prohibition went into effect at the start of the decade creating another industry of covert liquor importing and selling (psst…bootlegging) and the expansion of organized crime. “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse”. Americans were rebelling against the status quo and change in society was happening including women’s right to vote. Illegal booze, cars, mafias, deviant behavior, check. But to truly fit in at The Mansion, make sure to:

Know Your Jazz

Imagine 35,000 speakeasies hidden away in basements, behind secret walls, and personal homes across New York City. For reference, there are only about 4,900 bars in the city (2017). During a time when legal venues still had rules of white artists only, there were now 35,000 venues for aspiring Jazz artists to play. Plug in Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Fletcher Henderson, Mamie Smith, Jelly Roll Morton, Kings Oliver into the music streaming app of choice and see where the algorithm takes you. For some local modern Jazz, Blue Note is the perfect spot. Forget dropping it low or twerking at Gatsby’s Mansion, new moves for solo (gasp!) dancing came about like the Charleston, Black Bottom and Breakaway in the Jazz Age adding more freedom to move. Learn your 8 counts.

Dress the Part

Raise those hemlines! Society wasn’t quite ready for the miniskirt. Think more below the knee instead of to the floor. Women said goodbye to corsets and welcomed the iconic flapper dress - straight line shift, made of flowing material adorned with beading, showing ankles and less restriction for the leg kicking Charleston. Back from the war, Men were ready to get out of the browns, greens, and khakis of military wear and into more exciting (kind of) colors: dark gray, blue, and pastels in the summer accentuating a sleek hourglass shape to their suits. Work boots were out and everyday footwear became oxfords, brogues and if you’re stylin’, dare you do two-toned? 

Talk the Talk

Dressing for a party is only half the battle. If you’re going to fit in with the cast of characters from Gatsby’s world, you better sound like it. Remember alcohol is illegal but giggle juice will suffice to get the request across without alerting the fuzz and avoiding a trip to the clubhouse. Thank the mafioso for bootlegging (illegal) the juice and the rum runners, famous for making trips out to sea in international waters fetching liquor, typically rum from the islands, and transporting it to the speakeasies. The party is guaranteed to be the cat’s meow or the bee’s knees. And don’t forget if The Mansion gets raided, drop the drink and run!

All this talk has us thirsty for some giggle juice, sultry jazz to soothe the soul and ready for a party art deco’d out and glam.