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Seeking Cinderella

Monday, April 19, 2010

You all probably remember back when I had that op-ed in the New York Times (I mean, how could you forget?), and one of the ads was from a man looking for a woman he met at the Liederkranz Ball. And then I posted about that in more detail here a few days later.

Anyway, I mentioned at the time that there was another major annual ball in New York, the Arion, and so I thought I'd post some ads from that event too.

Arion. - Black eyes, witty, distingue, delicious voice, pink domino, with friend "Gerry for short:" let me see you, for heaven't sake. Address T.D., Herald Uptown office.
Arion Ball - Lady in black velvet and diamond cross, seen with lady friend in white silk and Spanish veil, will oblige friend who called at box 173 by addressing Monk, box 1,248 station E.

Arion Ball - Will the blonde lady, with white "wreath" and black velvet dress and Spanish lace sleeves, was seen with lady in white, address Monk, box 164 Herald Uptown office.

So, at first I thought that "Monk" was playing the field a bit and addressing two different women, because the descriptions of their outfits are slightly different - but I think it is the same woman. The first is more detailed (white "wreath," whatever that is - ans Spanish lace sleeves), although interesting leaves out the most striking feature: the diamond cross. Plus in the first he mentions visiting a box, which you would think she'd remember. But both were wearing black velvet and were seen with a lady in white, so I think it's one and the same. Since the second ad is about a week later, I think he didn't get an answer from the woman he wanted and was trying again. It seems like the lady in black velvet wasn't interested. Sorry, Monk.

Now the first - so cute! Witty, distingue (by which I assume he meant distinguished), and a delicious voice! I love that last - very charming compliment. I think T.D. fell a little head over heels for the lady in the pink domino (kind of a Phantom of the Opera-esque cape) and is desperate to see her...but she's not responding to any of his communiques. Ah well, keep searching for your Cinderellas, my dear men, and meanwhile, here's just a short excerpt from the New York Times' extremely long article describing this very self-same Arion Ball, which hosted somewhere between 12,000 to 15,000 guests:

The Fourth-avenue end of the Garden...was covered with a curtain, over which were artistic representations of two immense dolphins, with glittering scales and eyes, huge opened mouths, and tails intertwined in the centre. they seemed to swim in a transparent sea, with a bottom of beautiful shells, and above, floating through a gauzy atmosphere, were lovely birds and butterflies. Fronting this was a large fountain in full play, surrounded with palms and closely banked flowers of gorgeous hue and delicious scent. On the water, and apparently enjoying the spray, sat two live swans and four pretty white ducks. Hanging from the ceiling above was a boat of cut flowers...From the exact centre of the hall hung a large oval of Florida moss, inside of which was concealed clock-work machinery. This was set so that at midnight it burst the oval open and scattered a mass of tiny boquets upon the heads of the assemblage beneath...In the centre of both sides [of the hall] the bands were stationed in large boxes, draped in blue and red and gold and ornamented in front with huge masks. From each arch, between the inner and outer rows of pillars, hung a cage made of a hoop-skirt with a decorated white bottom, and each cage contained a live rooster. Calcium lights were stationed at all four ends, and at each side in the center, and the hall in ever direction were all ablaze.

Dang. Wish I was there!

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein


Unknown April 19, 2010 at 2:03 PM  

I think my favorite bit is the roosters in hoop-skirt cages. And to think Surrealism hadn't been invented yet!

Pam April 19, 2010 at 7:14 PM  

I totally noticed that too - just had to work it into the post! So bizarre!!

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