Apres le Theatre at the Knickerbocker – New York City (1918)

The Knickerbocker Hotel was built by John Jacob Astor IV at the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway between 1901 and 1906.
This area is now “Times Square”, taking the name of the New York Times Building that was erected there.
When the Knickerbocker opened, the Theater District was still centered further “downtown”, but Astor foresaw the growth of this area due to the 42nd Street station of New York City’s first subway line.
A passageway once opened from the station directly into the lower floor of the Knickerbocker.
By 1918, when this postcard illustration was mailed, the Knickerbocker was a favored place for drinks or dancing after the theater.
This postcard, made in the United States, was mailed from Asbury Park, New Jersey to Mr. Aaron Cook in Baltimore.
Mr. Cook seems to be living in rented rooms, as the post card is sent in care of Mrs. E. Kershaw.
On the reverse, the writer (a sibling of Aaron, probably a sister) provides an update on family news.
Lillian received Aaron’s gift and, with it, she bought a sweater.
The writer notes that “now you both have one”.
Lillian would have written, but she “went on a case” on Sunday.
(I am very curious about Lillian’s occupation.)
Helen has sent several postals to Aaron and wonders why Aaron does not seem to receive them.
The writer wonders how Rae is getting along, and says all are well, except for (her) cold.
Unfortunately, we cannot know if anyone connected to the writer or to Mr. Cook had a particular interest in the theater, in New York City, or in the social life that was about to enter the “Roaring Twenties”.
Likewise, there is a frustrating absence of information about the illustrator or publisher of this inviting picture of nightlife in 1918.
(After a wild sequence of re-adaptations, including an office building, a publishing house, and an event space, this Romanesque Revival landmark is again a luxury hotel.)
One hopes that the writer recovered from the cold, that Aaron returned the postal greetings of Helen, that Lillian was successful in her “case”, and that Aaron and Lillian could see one another in their sweaters.


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