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23 Facts About Stork Club
The Stork Club first opened in 1929 at 132 West 58th Street, just down the street from Billingsley's apartment at 152 West 58th Street.
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Unlike its competitors, the Stork Club stayed open on Sunday nights and during the summer.
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One of the first Stork Club customers was writer Heywood Broun, who resided in the vicinity.
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Broun's first visit to the Stork was actually made by mistake; he believed it to be a funeral home, but he soon became a regular, and invited his celebrity friends, as the name of the club spread further afield.
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In 1934, the Stork Club moved to 3 East 53rd Street, where it remained until it closed in October 1965.
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Stork Club sent out 1,000 invitations for champagne and dinner.
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Stork Club encouraged them to gather at the Stork Club by inviting debutantes to the club and holding a yearly "Glamor Girl" election.
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Stork Club previously provided live entertainment, but after Billingsley realized the reason people came to the club was to watch people, he abandoned the floor shows in favor of giving expensive gifts to regular customers of the club.
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Stork Club kept the Stork Club's name vivid in the minds of his patrons through mailing lists and a club newsletter.
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Stork Club was planning on re-opening the Stork Club at another location and was working on writing a book at the time of his death.
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Stork Club maintained order through a series of hand signals; without saying a word he could order complimentary drinks and gifts for a party at any given table.
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Stork Club changed the meaning of the hand signals frequently to avoid regular patrons' being able to read them.
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The ornamental bar of the Stork Club was relocated to Jim Brady's Bar on Maiden Lane, which acquired the bar at auction in the mid-1970s and continued to operate until the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
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The club was a prime example of the flourishing cafe society at the time, but the real purpose of the Stork Club, according to journalist Ed Sullivan, was people watching other people, particularly non-celebrities watching celebrities.
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Mark Bernardo, author of Mad Men's Manhattan: The Insider's Guide, has said: "In some ways, the Stork Club was ahead of its time—courting celebrities by picking up their tabs, hiring a house photographer who sent candid shots of guests to the tabloids, and offering a private enclave called the Cub Room, where stars could huddle away from the prying eyes of fans, all hallmarks of modern clubs that cater to boldface names".
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Billingsley insisted on orderly conduct for all of his Stork Club guests; fighting, drunkenness, or rowdiness were prohibited.
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Stork Club ran the club on the principle of it being a place where people could have a good time and that it was somewhere he could bring his own family without worrying that they would see or hear something he did not want them to.
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Durston had once worked at the Stork Club as a singer and Roosevelt was a longtime customer of the club.
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Stork Club collected just under $50,000 as a settlement in March 1959.
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The Stork Club television show ended in the same year the statements were made.
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Stork Club was featured in several movies, including The Stork Club, Executive Suite, Artists and Models, and My Favorite Year.
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