Think you know how to throw a party? You’ve got nothing on the shindigs from the end of the 19th century, when grand balls thrown in mansions were the way the moneyed elite strutted their stuff. Take a look at how the rich and fancy showed their wealth at the “Gilded New York” exhibition, held by the Museum of the City of New York (1220 5th Avenue)!

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Party Like It’s 1889

Industrialists of New York’s Gilded Age rose to prominence and wealth quickly, and they often believed in flaunting their money with excess we only see in tabloids today. The upper class thought nothing of wearing a platinum brooch with precious stones worth enough to buy half a city block. Or a mother-of-pearl fan with painted satin and peacock feathers. It goes with everything.

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For a real look at how extravagant the dress of the era became, you need look no further than Mrs. Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt’s “Electric Light” dress, which even featured a torch powered by batteries hidden in the dress! (Back then, you couldn’t just run to the store for a package of AAs, so this was a pretty big deal.) The ball she wore it to reportedly cost $3 million to host, and had 1,200 guests.

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The Cane is Not For Sale

Lest you think ladies got all the bling, make sure you don’t miss the pocketknife decorated with sapphires and rubies. One enterprising “gentleman” even carried a cane with a secret compartment, which hid an ivory carving of a woman without her clothes. Never let it be said the men of the era weren’t class acts.

Seastreak’s ferries might not be gilded in gold, but they’re still the height of luxury! Feel like a Rockefeller when you ride one of our comfortable catamarans. We’re the pinnacle of seagoing style!


Sea you soon!

The Seastreak Family



Filed Under: Gilded New York