Café Lafayette, New York 1907
At the end of the 19th century, the prime shopping district in New York was downtown and was known as the Ladies Mile.
The area, encompassing roughly 28 blocks from 15th street to 24th street on Park Avenue South to Avenue of the Americas, was full of upscale department stores such as Tiffany & Co, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor and B. Altman. There were fancy restaurants, booksellers, piano manufacturers and publishers.
The first site of the Metropolitan Museum of Art was located here.
The area attracted the well-to-do “carriage trade.” Ladies in their hats, tight bodices and full-length skirts felt safe enough to go shopping and meet for lunch without male companions.
Café Lafayette, located near the Ladies Mile on East 9th and University Place, was a popular meeting spot for ladies after their shopping expeditions. Located in the Lafayette Hotel, it served French cuisine and female staff added to its genteel ambience.
Courtesy Henry Voigt.
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