Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cafe Edison Interior

One reason we're fighting to keep Cafe Edison in its long-time home is because there is simply nothing else like that space. The walls, columns, and ceilings are plastered in filigree and angels, painted powder blue and cotton candy pink. Where else can you eat matzo ball soup inside a wedding cake?

For the Bergen County Players' current production of Neil Simon's "45 Seconds from Broadway," set designer Greg Cilmi stayed true to the coffee shop's interior. The comedy takes place inside the Cafe Edison and the set includes the filigreed columns and brass chandeliers.

Barry Hirschberg, who plays Mickey Fox, sent in a shot from the show, which runs until November 15.

Bergen County Players

The interior of Cafe Edison wasn't always pink and blue. Back in its steakhouse days, the walls were blood red and beef brown.

Reader Michael Beatty sent in these shots of a rare postcard from 1968 when the "Cattle Baron North" steakhouse occupied the coffee shop's space.

Described as "plush" and "brassy," the Cattle Baron offered a "Comfortable living room type cocktail lounge" with accommodations for private parties. And, as you can see, lots of white tablecloths--just the thing that the Hotel Edison's new owner wants for this space, according to the coffee shop's Conrad Strohl, who told the New York Times that it will become "a white-tablecloth restaurant with 'a name chef.'"

Long before the Cattle Baron North, this was the Hotel Edison's grand dining room, not its ballroom, as many believe. Scouting NY set the record straight on that.

Those chandeliers have survived a long time. And, again, white tablecloths.

via Scouting NY

But that's not the history we need to preserve in this space. As sociologist Penny Lewis told the Wall Street Journal: “It’s awful. There are few places like this left... There are a ton of pricey, white-tablecloth places around.”

What we need is the Cafe Edison--accessible, unpretentious, powder pink and baby blue, no white tablecloths.

Lunch Mob
Cafe Edison Lunch Mob Announcement
News of the Closure


James C. Taylor said...

"Name chef"! I prefer my chefs to remain anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting...I think in most cases you would advocate preserving the past but here you are advocating preserving the more recent past. Technically, to stay true to its roots the white tablecloth restaurant would make the most sense. But I do agree it is a terrible idea and we should preserve Café Edison as it is now.