New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker was born in 1881,
making him 5 years old when our ClockTower was built.
He was our Mayor through Prohibition (1920-33), a charismatic scalawag who openly cheated on his wife with Broadway showgirls.
Walker was eventually hounded from office after taking large bribes from business seeking NYC contracts.
Nothing particularly unusual there.
He was a regular at the 21 Club, too, a speakeasy from 1929 that served liquor deep in hiding, underground.
An architect had designed “a complex system of camouflaged doors, invisible chutes, revolving bars and a secret wine cellar” to hide the evidence in a raid.
The original owners also installed iron gates at the front doors for added security.
These gates became a symbol of the club and are enshrined on matchbooks that are now highly collectible, and in the NY Historical Museum.
Rumor had it Mayor Walker kept a private booth in the dining room and was once trapped, hiding in the wine cellar for hours during a raid.
Walker’s long gone, but since then the 21 Club has matured into a New York City institution, always elitist but always open to the public.
The 33 cast iron lawn jockeys became a traditional gift from wealthy stable owners and horse racing pros who call the club their home.
21 West 52nd Street
If you go, wear a jacket and don’t wear jeans.
If you're in denim, you won’t get it.