field trip — Southern in the City

This weekend Mr. M and I accepted my parents’ offer to babysit and headed off to NYC for an adult, urban field trip. Despite being in the Big Apple, though, we had a decidedly Southern weekend.  And in particular, we were able to spend a fair amount of time appreciating some vintage Southern style.

The first stop on our itinerary was to see the latest production of Tennessee Williams’ 1955 play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.  The entire cast was phenomenal — including (as you can see from the Playbill), the play’s headliner Scarlett Johansson, a native New Yorker who played the role of the manipulative Southern belle “Maggie” to a tee. image

As this is a blog about vintage interiors, however, I wanted give some deserved recognition to the play’s scenic designer, Christopher Oram, who did a masterful job creating the single bedroom in which all three acts of the play are set. With just a few simple elements — the worn Persian and Oushak rugs, the tall “gallery” doors, the slowly oscillating ceiling fans, and of course, the big brass bed — Oram was able to keenly evoke the sense of fading grandeur and passing gentility that consumes the play’s characters.

Next up was a visit to Cowgirl, one of our favorite brunch spots in the city. Inspired by the Cowgirl Hall of Fame Museum (originally located in Hereford, TX, but now in Fort Worth), this quirky restaurant is part country, part Western, and all vintage with its Dukes of Hazzard lunch tray and TX license plate adorned walls. The food is always good — Mr. M is partial to the biscuits and gravy, while my favorite is the French toast and chicken apple sausage — and the service is often better. Our server this weekend, Patricia, was fantastic.  If you like strong coffee, Southern-style brunch, and kitschy, retro decor, then this place is worth a visit.


Our final stop was to Billy Reid’s Manhattan storefront. This Louisiana-born designer currently works out of Florence, Alabama, but has stores throughout the South and along the Eastern seaboard.  The NYC store is housed in a late 19th century building on Bond St. and is complete with beautiful period details including bead board ceilings, Victorian-inspired light fixtures, wall papered fitting rooms, and the most fantastic wide-planked wooden floors.  A wonderful setting in which to try on (if not, alas, actually buy) well-designed and well-crafted clothing.


That’s it for now.  We had a long drive back today and I’m beat.  Happy hunting!


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