With the release of Z: The Beginning of Everything on Amazon Prime, the lure of the 1920s has never been stronger. Fortunately, there is no shortage of jazz age events all around New York City, but for those searching for a more authentic modern-day flapper experience, here is a roundup of places in the metropolitan area that Zelda and Scott frequented.
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The Knickerbocker Hotel, Manhattan
According to local folklore, if something happened in New York City during the first two decades of the twentieth century, chances are, it happened at The Knickerbocker Hotel. Founded by John Jacob Astor in 1906, the hotel was wildly popular until its sudden closing in 1921 due to prohibition and Astor’s death on the Titanic. After nearly 100 years, the hotel has finally reopened, and you can now spend a night where F. Scott lived back in 1919 while writing his short story Mr. Icky and courting Ms. Sayre.
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The Back Room, Manhattan
This list would not be complete without including a speakeasy, of course, and The Back Room fits the bill. Hidden behind “The Lower East Side Toy Company”, The Back Room served as an unlicensed saloon to the Fitzgeralds and still captures the spirit of the 20’s with live jazz on Monday nights. Don a fringy, drop-waisted dress, grab a gin cocktail (served in a teacup) and remember the password (found on the Facebook page), it’s required for entry.
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Oheka Castle, Long Island
It is rumored that the stunningly beautiful Oheka Castle, located on the aptly named Gold Coast of Long Island, was the main inspiration for Jay Gatsby’s mansion in Fitzgerald’s most popular novel. The former private residence of philanthropist Otto Kahn, Oheka is now a luxury hotel, bar and restaurant, and a much sought-after wedding venue. The guest suites are truly fit for royalty, but if that is out of your budget, daily tours of the mansion and grounds are open to the public.
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Plaza Hotel, Manhattan
With The Plaza Hotel appearing in several of Scott’s works, including the climax of The Great Gatsby, it is obvious that the Fitzgeralds were frequent visitors and fans. One of their apartments was just blocks away, and they had a particular fondness for the Palm Court. An homage to their lifestyle can be found in The Fitzgerald Suite, designed by Oscar-winning designer Catherine Martin. This one of a kind suite contains a curated library, artwork, and conversation pieces honoring the couple.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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The Renwick Hotel, Manhattan
Scott called this former extended stay hotel home for a short while. With a focus on artist’s and writer’s studio spaces, The Renwick Hotel also features a Fitzgerald suite of its own that showcases the best of art deco style, and some of Scott’s best quotes peppered around the room to inspire guests to create.
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For nearly a decade, the historic former speakeasy, Chumley's remained shuttered, but it has finally reopened as a (legal) bar and restaurant. Scott and his best frenemy, Ernest Hemingway frequented this former literary pub on the regular as part of the famed Algonquin Round Table group.
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The Peacock Inn, New Jersey
Princeton and the surrounding area had an incredible influence on The Fitzgeralds, and one of their favorite places to spend the night was at The Peacock Inn. Unsurprisingly, in the basement of the boutique hotel, there was a speakeasy that captured the attention of the couple and their entourage. Today, 16 luxury guests rooms are available for overnight stays, and a visit to the critically acclaimed on-site restaurant is a must.
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Compo Beach, Connecticut
As depicted on Z: The Beginning of Everything, Scott and Zelda rented a summer house in Westport, Connecticut in order to complete his second novel. While Scott wrote, Zelda took to the water at nearby Compo Beach, and as the sun set, the couple would be joined by friends as they sipped gin rickeys by the pitcher. Recreate their evening tradition by taking a stroll down Compo Road to get a glimpse of the grey house that is mentioned in The Beautiful and Damned.