However unearthly Palm Beach may appear from the mainland — how high the hedges, how thick the walls — last week’s SRO Town Council meeting might have been anywhere, attracting hours of debate about, what else, ” … noise, parking and traffic.” Islanders took time away from bridge tables, trunk shows and organizing shoe closets, to thumbs-up-or-down the project. The proposed conversion of the old Hutton Building into a private club with more than 200 members has been described as one of the town’s most “polarizing issues” in years. Council action has been deferred until January.
Recently, Judy Schrafft and I joined Frances and Felix Tapp for dinner at Bistro Chez Jean Pierre’s. At some point between the vichyssoise and short ribs, I began one of my rambles recalling that when only minutes after Prohibition was repealed, Palm Beach thoroughfares were lined with all-night bars and 24-7 package stores. Among them, the Styx Cafe & Bar located more than 80 years earlier in the same chez where we were having dinner.
While O’Hara’s and Ann Z’s are often cited as previous haunts, The Styx was a popular watering hole until WW II. Yes, during Flagler’s Palm Beach the surrounding area was also known as The Styx, housing an ensemble of vernacular cottages that for several years housed African-Americans employed at the resort’s seasonal hotels, restaurants, as well as engaged as wheel-chair drivers.
First, the haphazard enclave was appreciated as an attraction for adding a touch of The Bahamas and Jamaica to the resort. Several seasons later, The Lake Worth Daily News reported concerns for a growing health hazard caused by the lack of proper plumbing and basic utilities.
By the time E. R and John Bradley acquired the property that became part of their ocean-to-lake subdivision, the cottages and their residents had already decamped for West Palm Beach. The Styx, like much of Palm Beach’s episodic past, remains the subject of numerous repeated myths.
Friday – December 14,2018
Ann Norton Sculpture Garden honors Iris Apfel
Cafe L’Europe – 331 South County Road
On Friday night Café L’Europe’s familiar setting was astir with sheen, shimmer, twinkle, and flash, when the guest-of-honor arrived wearing her most conservative evening wear during the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden’s An Evening with Iris Apfel: Celebrating a Geriatric Starlet party.
Apfel was welcomed by the event’s chair Christine Aylward, and her co-chairs Frances Fisher and Sally Soter. The event’s patrons included: Christine and William Aylward, Frances and Jeffery Fisher, Sally and William Soter, Caler, Donten, Levine, Cohen, Porter & Veil, P.A., Key Private Bank, James Borynack and Adolfo Zaralegui, Wilmington Trust, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wright. In time for last-minute holiday gift-giving, on December 22 the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden hosts Iris Apfel autographing her latest best-seller Accidental Icon: Musings of a Geriatric Starlet, as well as a daylong pop-up offering many of her signature items, Barbie dolls, notepads, and her clothing line, an HSN favorite.
Friday- December 14, 2018
Paige Rense @ Palm Beach
Across town on Friday night, Paige Rense Noland was having a book signing for her new book Architectural Digest: Autobiography of a Magazine: Architectural Digest 1920-2010, followed by a celebratory dinner at Club Colette.
Holiday Cheer abounds!
King Library reopens
Thursday – December 13,2018 – 11 am
The Society of the Four Arts Plaza
Carriage House: To Club or Not to Club?
264 South County Road
One of Addison Mizner’s post-Boca Raton designs, the iconic corner building is one of many pockets exemplifying Palm Beach’s ad hoc zoning. Following Ned and Franklyn Hutton’s brokerage office venture, the building became the Palm Beach Shop, a men’s and ladies’ clothing emporium with New York and Chicago addresses, that featured a British bar known as Finchley’s.
Ads for the Palm Beach Shop highlighted “Visit our cocktail bar.” In April 1942, the Town permitted the shop to convert during the summer into the Finchley Club Center for enlisted men operated by the Volunteers for Victory. The shop’s large room and patio developed into a cantina-like atmosphere with a bar serving soft drinks and milk. By the time the war ended, Finchley’s cocktail bar had become more popular than the shop.
Photography by Augustus Mayhew.
Augustus Mayhew is the author of Palm Beach-A Greater Grandeur