Old New York is back, baby, from Broadway to the Upper East Side, where the 1930s Carlyle Hotel has a break.
Even cool downtown kids stroll through the upscale neighborhoods for drinks at Bemelmans Bar, which reopened in May. The bar is named after the murals that adorn its walls by Ludwig Bemelmans, writer and illustrator of Madeline’s beloved children’s books. Madeline may live in an old house in Paris covered in vineyards, but her spirit lives in the hotel, as does Eloise at the nearby Plaza Hotel.
But Madeline will receive an even bigger spotlight next month, when the Carlyle’s restaurant, renamed Dowling’s, reopens. Five original works of art by Ludwig Bemelmans that evoke the sophisticated playfulness of Madeline children’s books will adorn the walls of the restaurant. The hotel bought them for $ 422,800 at a Sotheby’s auction earlier this year, Side Dish can exclusively reveal.
It’s part of a $ 120 million renovation that began before the pandemic and included a complete overhaul of the restaurant and a makeover of the hotel’s 190 rooms. While the designs are modern – thanks to Tony Chi and other designers – there are a few Art Deco touches inspired by original The Carlyle designer, Dorothy Draper.
The 90-year-old hotel – just one block from Central Park in Madison and 76th Street – closed its restaurant in March 2020.
When it reopens, there will be a new Executive Chef, Sylvain Delpique, formerly of Club 21. The side dish also got a taste of the new menu filled with French and American classics and many flamboyant flamboyants – like Steak Diane , with its rich cognac-shallot and butter sauce, prepared in the dining room next to the table.
And there are also new partnerships, with Assouline, the publisher, and a new collaboration with Frame, the high-end jeans retailer, which has created “must-have” loungewear pieces inspired by 1970s New York.
The idea for working with Frame “arose at the start of the pandemic, when we couldn’t visit our favorite places, like the Carlyle, but wanted to bring this experience to our customers,” said Erik Torstensson, co-founder and Creative Director of Frame.
Part of the beloved hotel won’t open right away: The Carlyle Cafe, where generations have listened to the late Bobby Short, is not expected to reopen until early next year, however, said the director of the Carlyle Hotel, Andrew Archibald.
Still, the hotel is already in talks to bring back artists like singer / songwriter Belinda Carlisle and Isaac Mizrahi, the fashion designer and TV personality who last performed at Café Carlyle a week before the lockdown. , in early March 2020, although he honored a few “virtual performances during confinement.
Mizrahi tells Side Dish he’s eagerly awaiting a return to classic New York space.
“This is one of the last places in the world where you can go and where you are guaranteed a very sophisticated evening, where you are guaranteed a good drink, a good show and a good meal” , Mizrahi said. “It’s not exactly the old world, but it’s classic New York,” he said.
Part of the café’s success lies in “the privacy of space,” Archibald added, and that’s why they’ll likely wait until the first few months of 2022 to reopen.
“We want to make sure we provide a safe environment for our customers and staff, even if a small part of our heart is missing without it,” Archibald said.
“Nonetheless,” he added, “the response to the opening of the Bemelmans Bar has been second to none. The support from the local community has been incredible. It’s full every night which gives a lot back. atmosphere and energy in the hotel. Noise echoes throughout the hotel lobby. There is a real buzz because of the bar.
Much like Bemelmans ‘iconic murals, Bemelmans’ new art in the restaurant will also resonate with generations who grew up reading Ludwig Bemelmans beloved tales on Madeline, first published in 1939.
While the Plaza Hotel has Eloise, who lived at the hotel with her pet turtle, dog and nanny, the Carlyle a Madeline, written and illustrated by Bemelmans. According to the books, she lived “in an old house in Paris which was covered with vines … [as one of] twelve little girls in two straight lines ”, but it lives in the spirit of the iconic murals of Bemelmans Bar.
The new pieces, which will be in the restaurant, were part of Sotheby’s sale, “Madeline and More: The Whimsical World of Ludwig Bemelmans,” which was held in person from February 17 to March 3.
The restaurant itself is named after Robert Whittle Dowling, town planner and former owner of The Carlyle. He bought it in 1944 and helped put it on the map.
Appetizers from the dinner menu will also include oysters, tuna tartare, and a classic neighborhood salad, while main courses will include steak tartare, truffle chicken with Perigord sauce, and house waffle fries. The brunch includes a quiche Lorraine and a croque madames as well as the signature Carlyle burger with homemade brioche and a carving station with beef ribs and salmon from the Faroe Islands in a Parmesan crust.
Designed by studio tonychi, the 80-seat restaurant features plenty of dark wood and leather banquettes with printed leather tabletops inspired by old New York sketches.
The hotel closed in March 2020 and only reopened in November 2020 with “limited service“, including only in-room dining for guests. When the Bemelmans Bar reopened in May 2021, Archibald said, New Yorkers gathered there “to live their best lives.”
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Dinner was accompanied by Casa Dragones Tequila, a small tequila owned by Mexico’s only female taquilera, Bertha Gonzalez Nieves.
Among the guests were DJ Victor Calderone and his wife, Athena. This summer, Surf Lodge featured dishes from Chef Diego Luis Feliciano Lopez, who presented a vegetable-rich menu with seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms.