Episode #17: Mary Rogers Williams: The Rediscovered Life Of A Gilded Age Impressionist (Coming 5/24/22)

Eve Kahn, independent scholar and author, calls Mary Rogers Williams “the Mary Cassatt you never heard of”. While Cassatt and Rogers lives differed and they likely never met, the rediscovered life of Gilded Age painter, Mary Rogers Williams is a fascinating tale of late 19th-century artistic circles. From the farmlands of Connecticut, Mary Rogers Williams lived and painted among the famous in New York, London, and Paris and her studies included time with artists such as William Merritt Chase and James MacNeil Whistler. A mysterious painting and an extraordinary discovery in 2012 led my guest Eve Kahn to reconstruct the life and world of a unique, innovative, yet little known until now, female artist of the Gilded Age. 

Episode #16: Golden Plates and Dinners on Horseback: Tales of Dining in Gilded Age New York

Outrageous stories of Gilded Age dinners served on plates of gold, live swans swimming in a lake in the center of your table and yes, even dinners served on horseback are all true. In this show, find out what some of the actual dishes served really were made and served along with stories of the restaurateurs, chefs and hostesses that created these lavish events. We’ll take a look at some actual balls and dinners given by Mrs. Astor among others and even on the fictional table of Bertha Russell in the recent HBO series “The Gilded Age.”

Episode #15: Castle Howard to Highclere: Treasures of the English Country House

For fans of the great period television and film dramas Downton Abbey and Brideshead Revisited among many others, one of the great pleasures is seeing the grand, sumptuous, imposing interiors of some of England’s greatest homes used as stage sets in the drama.  This week’s episode features Nick Dawes, master specialist and appraiser seen regularly on “Antiques Roadshow” who shares some insight into the decorative arts collections of some of these fictitious as well as some very real families.  

Episode #14: A Sprig of Witch Hazel: Edith Wharton’s Secret Affair

As writer Edith Wharton began to spend more and more time in Paris during the early years of the 1900s, she made the acquaintance of the American journalist Morton Fullerton.  Their meeting grew into a passionate and complicated love affair combining joy and emotional pain. Still, the affair led Wharton to some of her greatest creative moments and it wasn’t until the 1980’s when a long thought lost trove of letters brought the full story of the affair to light.  This week’s episode brings you to the Paris of the Belle Epoque and into the story of this surprising romance. 

Episode #13: The Gilded City: New York 1870-1900

To viewers of the first season of HBO’s “The Gilded Age” by Julian Fellowes, the city itself became one of the show’s most fascinating characters.  In this episode, join master tour guides Emma Guest-Consales, PhD. and Jeff Dobbins for a unique look at the architecture, neighborhoods, and landmarks that we see portrayed in the show.  Tune in for a look deep inside the Gilded Age metropolis with a perspective that only a tour guide can give.
Explore upcoming tours with Emma, Jeff and Carl at Bowery Boys Walks www.boweryboyswalks.com

Episode #12: Social Climber: The Iron Will and Determined Rise of Alva Vanderbilt

The fight for social dominance and acceptance was a battle fought by many Gilded Age wives along with their financial warrior husbands.  One of the most famous was Alva Vanderbilt who rose to finally make it through the golden portals into Mrs. Astor’s social circle.  Her iron determination resulted in her daughter Consuelo’s seemingly fairytale marriage to a British aristocrat in 1895 — but none of it was a fairytale.  Join The Gilded Gentleman for a look inside the story of who Alva really was as a social climber but also as a 19th-century woman.

Alva Vanderbilt

Episode #11: How to Pluck a Peacock: Delmonico’s Charles Ranhofer and The Epicurean

Delmonico’s restaurant became famous for bringing elegant, luxurious dining to and sophisticated French dishes to American tables.  The culinary genius behind these dramatic dishes was Delmonico’s celebrity chef, Frenchman Charles Ranhofer who guided their kitchens from 1862-1896.  He left us with his extraordinary cookbook published at the height of the Gilded Age in the 1890’s,  detailing the ingredients and preparations of Delmonico’s classic dishes.   Join me and my guest, creative director and food stylist, Victoria Granof (www.victoriagranof.com) to take a look at this extraordinary chef and some of the most outrageous dishes from Delmonico’s tables – including a peacock. 

Episode #10: Invisible Magicians: Domestic Servants in Gilded Age New York 

Join The Gilded Gentleman and Esther Crain, author of The Gilded Age in New York 1870-1914 for a look below stairs!  In this show, we’ll take a look at the various roles and responsibilities of domestic staff in grand mansions and even in more modest homes.  The Gilded Gentleman will explore what servants did and most importantly who they really were.  This show pays tribute to the vast numbers of “invisible magicians” without whom the dinners, balls and just daily workings of households of the Gilded Age would never have been possible. 

Episode #9: The Education of a Snob: Ward Mcallister’s American Aristocracy

The famous Mrs. Astor was credited with building and shaping the Gilded Age elite. At her side and combining forces with her to create “the 400”,  was the controversial Ward McAllister.  McAllister was originally a Southerner who himself developed a complex persona as the most socially knowledgeable and refined gentleman of the New York elite.  Join me for a look into who Ward McAllister really was, how he developed his famous reputation and what led to his infamous break from the social court of Mrs. Astor.

Episode #8: Ladies’ Mile and the Glamour of Gilded Age Shopping

During the 1870’s and 1880’s New York’s famous Ladies’ Mile shopping district took hold along Broadway and grand palaces of retail grew filled with splendors and luxuries to tempt the glittering clientele that swept through their doors. Join me and my guest, art historian and master guide, Emma Guest-Consales, PhD for a unique and fascinating Gilded Age shopping trip. 

Episode #7: Getting a Bad Rap: Spiritualism in the 19th century

Many people throughout the 19th century were fascinated with the idea of connecting with the beyond including the famous Commodore Vanderbilt. Historian Anthony Bellov joins this week for a look into some rather strange phenomena and the story of Vanderbilt and one of the most famous spiritualists of the period, the fascinating Victoria Woodhull.  

Episode #6: The Gilded Page: A Conversation with NYT Bestselling Author Carol Wallace

“Carol Wallace, New York Times bestselling author, discusses her just-published novel of the Gilded Age, “Our Kind of People” as well as shares insights on her book “To Marry an English Lord” which served as an inspiration for “Downton Abbey”. 

Episode #5: To Catch a Prince: The Story of Alice Heine, Monaco’s First American Princess

Grace Kelly captured the attention of the world when she married Prince Rainier III and became Princess of Monaco in 1956.  Few people realize that she wasn’t the first American-born princess to hold the title.  Travel back to the Belle Epoque and discover the story of a New Orleans beauty who captured the heart of a prince nearly 100 years before. 

Alice Heine, Princess of Monaco (photo: Public Domain)

Episode #4: Man About Town: The Story of Murray Hall

When Tammany Hall politician, Murray Hall died at his home in Greenwich Village in 1901, his death sparked a national scandal.  Murray Hall had a secret he kept hidden for over 20 years — what was it? Historic preservationist Ken Lustbader joins The Gilded Gentleman for a look at this little-known and deeply compelling story. 

Episode #3: The Real Mrs. Astor: Ruler or Rebel?

Historian Tom Miller joins The Gilded Gentleman for a discussion about who Caroline Astor really was.  

Episode #2: Divas, Diamonds, Drama: The Opening of the Metropolitan Opera 1883

Join the Gilded Gentleman for a night at the opera! The glittering, glamorous opening night of New York’s new opera house at the height of the Gilded Age had perhaps more drama going on in the audience than on the stage.

Metropolitan Opera House on 39th Street (Library of Congress)

Episode #1: Gilded Age or Gilded Cage?

Was the Gilded Age as glamorous as it seemed? Join Carl and his guests — Tom Meyers and Greg Young from the Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast — to discuss the light and the dark of this fascinating era.

Carl, Tom, and Greg recording at the Salmagundi Club.

Carl recording an episode with Emma Guest-Consales about Ladies’ Mile.