Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Carlos

New York City, 

This comic postcard from about 1912 promotes an Italian restaurant named The Carlos to New Jerseyites by claiming it was “free from mosquitoes.”1 The confusing scene shows a New York cityscape on the left and a railroad platform in New Jersey on the right where swarms of mosquitoes can be seen harassing commuters standing on the platform. In reality, The Carlos was located at 25 West 24th Street, near both Madison Square Park and the Hudson Tube Station shown in the distance on the card. More interestingly, it faced the drab façade of a building across the street that hid the love nest of architect Stanford White who rented the second and third floors for his trysts, fitting the rooms with mirrored walls, a canopy bed, and a red velvet swing.2 Much of what we know about this restaurant and its bohemian spirit comes from postcards and from the diary of one of its most famous patrons.