History | A Continuous Lean.

An Ode to the Humble American Beer.

Apr 7th, 2015 | Categories: Drinking, History | by Michael Williams

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The calendar is filled with a host of events like “National Donut Day” and the like that seem to be conjured from thin air with little basis in the real world. The amount of these little celebratory days tends to amuse me greatly. So when I heard the story of “National Beer Day” I was immediately skeptical that this was yet another greeting card holiday. When I learned the actual history of today, April 7th, National Beer Day, a new found respect emerged for this humble beer drinking day’s place in our history. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to motivate me to grab a cold one.

The significance of this national day of beer emerged following the dry days of prohibition in 1933. As it turns out, the date of April 7th is the day that the Cullen–Harrison Act went into effect for the first time, and marked the day in which a thirsty public could once again legally consume a beer without fear of incident from the authorities.





Opening the Door on New York’s Private Clubs.

Mar 9th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, History, New York City | by ACL Editors

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“Hey, I wonder what’s behind that door?”

It’s a question that most New Yorker’s ask themselves countless times, almost subconsciously, as they wander through the city each day. These doorways certainly intrigue us, but in the end, we only ever step into maybe one percent of the buildings that we pass by in this city. All those other thresholds are off-limits, leaving us to quietly wonder what lies behind that door. And few of these buildings stoke our imaginations quite like New York’s many private clubs. That word, private, says it all.

New York has a long tradition of clandestine clubs that are designed to keep outsiders at bay. It’s who these clubs do choose to let in, though which distinguishes them from one another. Each different club may appeal more to artists, or authors, or politicians, or city planners, depending on their charters, but they all genuinely share one common characteristic: wealth. Let’s face it, these clubs are not for us (that is unless you happen to be a high-society millionaire whose great-great-great-great-great-grandparents arrived on these shores via the Mayflower) to enter, they are for us to ogle at from the outside. So join us for a look, but don’t touch, guide to NYC’s social clubs, because this is the closest we may ever get to knowing what actually goes on behind these doors.





The Art of Eating.

Mar 3rd, 2015 | Categories: Art, History, New York City | by ACL Editors

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Filet Mignon for a buck eighty five, a salad for sixty cents, a baked potato for a quarter, a glass of beer for a dime.

In 1941 you could get a solid meal at the famous Keen’s Steakhouse here in New York for less than three dollars. That in of itself is extraordinary, but what’s even more extraordinary is how the menu looked. Back in the forties, Keen’s menu was a real work of art. The cover of the medieval inspired menu proudly displayed the Keen’s story, each page was bordered by smiling vegetables, and “To-Day’s Selections” were announced by a lute playing minstrel musician. And this was just one menu from one restaurant.

Back in the day, all menus were an art form in their own right. They would often feature hand-drawn figures, ornate scripts, bracketed sections, and frame-worthy covers. These boastful bills of fares were a canvas for creativity, regardless of the quality of the dishes which were listed on their pages. This is somewhat of a flip on today’s culinary trends, as most restaurants today hand out plainspoken menus, yet peddle some truly beautiful dishes. While the menu has become mundane now, we can fortunately still revisit the artistic menus of the past through the New York Public Library’s extensive online archive of menu’s from New York City restaurants. With over seven thousand menus, the archive is a real feast, our only recommendation is that you don’t visit on an empty stomach. Some of our favorites after the jump.





A True People’s Champ.

Feb 24th, 2015 | Categories: History, Menswear, Sports, Style | by ACL Editors

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In the ring Muhammed Ali was a monster. He would grab hold of each match, dancing his way around the ring until just the right moment and then BAM, his fist, as big as a loaf of bread and as weighty as Thor’s hammer, would shoot forth so as to inflict the maximum amount of damage upon his adversary.

Despite his brutal blows, Ali was not fueled by anger. Fighting was his job, and he was damn well good at it. But outside the ring, he was known for his big personality – a man who could be caring and controversial in equal measure. Never one to hold back, Ali would often play to the camera, as seen in his famous Esquire cover and photo shoot with The Beatles. He was also a pretty sharp dresser, especially for a guy of his size. Ali wasn’t so much a gentle giant, as he was a giant gentleman, which is why his battle with Parkinson’s disease, and his subsequent deteriorating state later in life, has been so painful to watch. And so it’s best to remember Ali as he was in his glorious heyday – as the true people’s champ.

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Kubrick the Kid Captures the City

Feb 19th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, History, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

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Long before Stanley Kubrick became the revered auteur responsible for films like A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket, he was just a kid with a camera. And he truly was a kid. Kubrick was just seventeen when was hired as a staff photographer by the now defunct Look Magazine. As a native of the Bronx, Kubrick was a keen observer of the intricacies of the city, and throughout his five year career behind the lens, he portrayed the ins and outs of ordinary life in New York. From clubs to classrooms, from street corners to circuses, from boxing rings to bars, Kubrick shot society at all levels, capturing the collective frenzy of New York City in the late 1940’s. Below are just a smattering of the more than fifteen thousand images which Kubrick amassed from 1945 to 1950, but all of them can be found online at the website of the Museum of the City of New York.

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MG Autos | The Midgets of the Track

Feb 10th, 2015 | Categories: Cars, History, Jake Gallagher, Motorsports | by Jake Gallagher

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American cars of the 1960′s can be summed up in one word: big. Big engines, big hoods, big windows, big benches, even big headlights. The American road was strewn with these glimmering metallic behemoths throughout the sixties, but across the pond, things were quite different. There were British companies like Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, and Bentley that aimed for luxury, creating an automotive experience that was akin to an ultra-cushy carriage ride, and then there were companies like MG. While their competitors were busy inserting plush leather seats and squishy handling into their rides, MG was playing out on the track, producing compact cars that epitomized English speed. Their coupes were designed to hug sharp turns, leap off the line, and dart around corners, setting the benchmark for the British sports car for decades to come.

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The Raccoon Coat | Have Some Fun Dammit!

Jan 6th, 2015 | Categories: History, Jake Gallagher, Menswear, Outerwear, Preppy | by Jake Gallagher

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With all the rules and lists and “wear this, don’t wear that” articles that get lobbed our way, it’s easy to forget that clothing should never be taken too seriously. If what you’re wearing doesn’t make you smile, then you’re probably doing something wrong. Sometimes though, we all need to be reminded of this, and so in the spirit of fun, let’s give it up to the ol’ raccoon coat. As a staple of East Coast style that popped up during the roaring twenties, the raccoon coat is ostentatious, gaudy, and downright fun. Undergrads wore them on game day and blue bloods tossed them over their tuxes. The raccoon coat said, “I’m dressed better than and I know it.” Just look at these guys, they’re dressed ridiculous, and they’re loving it. As styles have changed, today that message reads more like, “I’m trying way too hard to be Jay Gatsby,” but at least we have these photos to remind us that if you’re having fun, you can pull off just about anything.

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