Inside Central Park's Lost Casino
In 1864, a two-room stone cottage was built inside Central Park, just south of the Inventor’s Gate entrance at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street. The quaint building was used as the Ladies’ Refreshment Saloon, where unaccompanied women could rest and grab a bite to eat. Public life in the 19th century was segregated by sex and restaurants were deemed masculine haunts. “Respectable” women did not dine alone in public and those that did, were automatically assumed to be prostitutes.
Speakeasy Cards: The Ticket to Drinking During Prohibition
During prohibition, speakeasies used a variety of methods to identify genuine customers from undercover agents. Initially, bouncers relied only on personal recognition, but as the industry grew, this individualized approach became unsustainable. Some bars used secret passwords or special knocks, but the majority printed membership cards, which customers had to present in order to gain entry. A surprising number of these cards are personalized. They were assigned to specific c