Planting Fields opens its spring exhibition, Cocktail Culture:
The Gold Glamorous Coast Years From Prohibition to 1960, March 31st at Coe Hall, open every day 11:30am – 3:30pm, through September 30th.
Coe Hall opens for the season with the exciting Cocktail Culture exhibition that can be seen every day, 11:30am – 3:30pm through September 30th. Starting with the 1920s, the show is a veritable feast for the eyes and includes fabulous clothes by some of the greatest designers of their time such as Mariano Fortuny and Elsa Schiaparelli. There are extraordinary works of art for women's feet made by Salvatore Ferragamo in the 1930s and by Dalman and I Miller. Also included are beautiful hats by Tatiana of Saks 5th Ave and by Adrian of Hollywood.
The cocktail is the consummate American medium, embodying a unique mixture of innovation, modernity and glamour. As shown in the exhibition, its history in fashion, bar accessories, and popular imagery, captures the spirit of an American phenomenon. The exhibit begins at the time that Coe Hall was being built, in 1920, the same year in which the Prohibition Amendment became law (it was repealed in 1933). For their new house at Planting Fields, Mr. and Mrs. William Robertson Coe had a very large secret storage space built in the basement for bottles of liquor. To this day there still is a massive safe door hidden behind a nondescript board and batten door that might be found in any service area. It is clear that the Coes did not want Prohibition enforcement agents to know that they had seven hundred square feet of cellar with shelves for bottle storage. In Mr. Coe's study, sometimes known as the den, the bar is also a hidden space, its entrance door seemingly part of the room's Tudor style oak paneling. The general ledgers originally maintained by Mr. Coe’s New York City office, and now in the Foundation’s archives, reveal that in 1918 and 1919, the two years leading up to Prohibition, Mr. Coe, whose favorite drink was the Manhattan – made from whisky, was stockpiling liquor. In 1918 he spent $10,021.65 (today about $143,834), in 1919, $25,328.07 (today about $316,376), for a grand total of $35,349.72 (today over $441,000). Champagne and whiskey were the two most stockpiled types of liquor. Other liquor purchases in 1918 and 1919 include sherry, brandy, vermouth, and wine. It is hard to determine Mr. Coe’s usual annual expenditure on alcohol because he only kept a separate entry for liquor in 1918 and 1919; in previous years it was included in general household expenses.
The new law made it illegal to make or transport liquor, but Long Island became one of the most notorious routes along which liquor was trucked from the island's many shore towns, where it had arrived by boat, mostly from Canada and the Caribbean, and then by road to New York City. Prohibition agents patrolled the highways ready to confiscate illegal liquor. Twice in 1924 agents caught Mrs.