New York After Dark in 1931

Charles G. Shaw, Nightlife: Vanity Fair’s Intimate Guide to New York After Dark (New York: John day Company, 1931). Decorated by Raymond Bret-Koch (1902-1996). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.  Note: Prohibition ended in 1933.

This indexed guide provides information on speakeasies, night clubs, dance halls, and more with specific chapters on Harlem, Greenwich Village, Lower East Side, and Yorkville. Restaurants are divided into luxury, foreign, chop suey with dancing, chop suey without dancing, chophouses, and grill rooms.

Decoration throughout is by Raymond Bret-Koch (1902-1996). The BnF lists him as French and continues “Architect, decorator, poster designer and illustrator. – Learn architecture with Mallet-Stevens, decoration with André Groult, advertising art with Tolmer. – After his military service, he specialized in decoration and advertising. He has had a great activity in the press, as a creator, editor, poster artist and in publishing as an illustrator.”


The fabulous Moscowitz Roumanian (correct spelling) restaurant  is described “the walls are garish, the decor cheap, there is no pretense to chic. but here is, mark you, a house of comfort, ease, and relaxation.” For more on this classic, see: . Happily Sammy’s Romanian is still open: