Monday, June 2, 2014

Delmonico’s Restaurant Chambers Street (1856-1876)

Irving House – Broadway and Chambers Street 
 Engraved by Henry Bricher (b.circa 1817) - From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York

Men famous in their time frequented the upstairs rooms at Chambers Street; their names would constitute a “Who's Who” of New York in the Sixties and Seventies. Some who are still remembered were Horace Greeley; Henry J Raymond of the Times; A.T. Stewart; James T Brady the courtroom spellbinder; William M Evarts, witty and learned leader of the bar and future Secretary of State John Van Buren; Fernando Wood the city's copperhead mayor who recommended that New York secede from the Union; Astors and Vanderbilts in assorted lots; crusading clergymen like Henry Ward Beecher and T. De Witt Talmadge, from conscience bound Brooklyn; Daniel Sickles, a rake of marital and martial notoriety; Samuel J. Tilden near-President of the United States; Chester A. Arthur, an actual though accidental President; Roscoe Conkling the posturing “Adonis” senator and mastermind of New York republican politics; and of course the potentates of the Tweed Ring, their aides and abettors without number.

…Henry J. Raymond, a politically active editor gave many dinners at Delmonico's Chambers Street restaurant and mapped journalistic campaigns there. Room number 1 upstairs was the preserve of lawyers of whom the jovial Brady was a bellwether. Whenever he chalked up another courtroom victory, it was his pleasure to celebrate in room 1 with congenial spirits. human and liquid both fully uncorked. 

Rooms number 9 and 11 were consecrated to the politicians, Republican and Democratic, for there was no factionalism at Delmonico's. The unwritten rule was that the first party arriving could establish itself in number 11. and those coming later would convene in number 9. In this way next door to each other, the leaders of the opposite parties mapped their election strategies.

“…in 1855 when Lorenzo rented and fitted up the corner at Chambers Street and Broadway which had formed part of the old Irving House; …Lorenzo Delmonico signed a twenty one year lease of the property mentioned at an annual rental of $25,000 later raised to $30,000… Not everybody believed that Lorenzo was taking a rash step. Hardly had he signed the lease when he was offered $75,000 for it; but the renovations were under way, and he clung to the bargain. 

The Irving House, on the northwest corner of the intersection, had indeed earned a fortune for its original proprietor. Built in 1848, it was the first in New York to boast of “bridal suites,” and its furniture was reputed to have cost $150,000. 

Lounging around its entrance any day might be seen a cross section of the floating population of the city - merchants in town on buying expeditions, Southerners smoking Havanas, slouching Western men straight from the gold fields. Across Broadway rose the six story marble “dry goods emporium” of A.T. Stewart, where the richness of the stock startled visitors… ”


James T. Brady – New York Lawyer – 1815/1869 - Bio Sketch

( Photo above: Library of Congress Call Number: LC-BH82- 5225 C

James Topham Brady was the son of Irish immigrants who first settled in Newark, NJ and then in New York City. Brady received a privileged education and, in 1831 while still a student, he aided his father, a lawyer, in various trials. Brady gained admittance to the New York bar in 1836. His first case dealt with the controversial topic of slavery, and "though he was unsuccessful his handling of the matter was masterly . . . He was endowed by nature with a facility of speech, which, assiduously cultivated and molded by long study, and embellished with felicitous classical quotations, became well-nigh irresistible with a jury, whilst his arguments, clear, logical, never verbose, were put with a force and sincerity which always impressed the court" (Knott).

Over the next two decades Brady came to be known as a leader of the New York bar. He was connected to almost every important case of the time, either as the defense attorney or the prosecutor (Knott). He became New York District Attorney in 1843, and he was later asked to be the United States Attorney-General, an honor that he chose not to accept. Brady was fascinated by issues of insanity, but he was beyond proficient in all areas of the law. In one memorable civil case, he won an unbelievable $300,000 in damages for his client. He also represented Mrs. Edwin Forrest in her divorce from her husband (Wilson & Fiske 355).

As a criminal defense attorney he won fifty-one out of fifty-two murder trials; four of those acquittals were won during the same week. Brady's prowess in the courtroom was unmatched: "It has been said that he never lost a case in which he was before a jury for more than a week; in that time they saw everything through his eyes" (355)… 


Breaking News - Bilderberg Coffee Klatch Did Not Meet in Copenhagen This Past Weekend

It is with predictable disappointment to announce all four networks failed to inform the public of a secretive and extremely exclusive meeting of central bankers, CEOs, public officials and world dignitaries taking place this weekend.

From May 29 through today, June 1, esteemed academicians, hand picked journalists, intelligence officials, world banking oligarchs and the CEOs and bosses of Royal Dutch Shell, Google and Microsoft, to name just a few, slinked behind closed doors at the Marriott hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark, to do God knows what.

But watching the major news networks and monitoring the domestic news wires, you’d never guess this meeting happened.