Friday, January 29, 2021


Creative services
For most of my life one of my favorite haunts
has been the Cafe des Artistes. Located at One
West 67th just off the park. Said affinity being
not for the amazing Howard Chandler Christy
murals of nubile lasses alone. But because it
was one of only spots where one could order
a steaming bowl of marrow bones. Back then
George Lang - a charming Czech owned the
joint. After his death it closed. Later to reopen
courtesy of the successful owners of another
favorite - Il Gattopardo. Thus before Covid 19
(and hopefully after) - The Leopard at des
Artistes continues to feed discerning souls.
Home sweet home
Since it's opening in 1917 - the Hotel des
Artistes has been an elegant yet bohemian
enclave on the upper westside. Designed as
seventeen floors of duplex artist studios it
immediately attracted generations of artists,
innovators, and performers. Who came and
went as fortune would have it. Hence it's no
surprise that the cafe's murals were created
to pay off one resident, Mr. Christy's bar tab.
Recently a new book was published which
chronicles all of its famous residents. One
who I was lucky enough to know. Robert
Baranet. Artist, bon vivant, and charmer.
Picture this
"Barry" earned his living painting portraits
of celebrities, society divas, and politicians.
His studio in the Hotel des Artistes allowed
them to come and go as they pleased. Plus
it was convenient to his Connecticut home.
For years his clients, family, and friends all
frequented said elegant digs. Including his
young daughter who occasionally ordered
room service and a bottle of Dom Perignon.
from the cafe downstairs. To this day the
Hotel des Artistes is home to an amazing
melange of simply fascinating people. And
now that legacy is recorded for posterity.
Artistic license
Author Robert Hudovernik first learned of
the Hotel des Artistes while he was writing
a book about photographer Alfred Cheney
Johnston. There in his studio he shot many
Ziegfeld girls and jazz age beauties. Further
research led Robert to discover a century of
residents. An amazing array of America's
brightest creative leaders. Along with a few
ghosts along the way. Not only is said tome
a good read - it's an inspiring homage to an
architectural and cultural icon. So even if
we can't go home right now, we can travel
there vicariously as we read all about it.