Preserving the past

By Richard Zampella: The “21” Club – Alfred Hitchcock was a regular patron throughout his life here.

The “21” Club- Alfred Hitchcock was a regular patron throughout his life here.
By Richard Zampella

Richard Zampella

21 Club – New York City
By Richard Zampella

When one thinks of nightlife prior to World War II, images are conjured of late night haunts serving fare into the wee small hours of the morning and music playing till dawn. Nowhere epitomized being out and about on the town like New York City in the 1930’s and ‘40’s. It was a legendary moment in time.
After a period of four years probation was repealed, King Kong carried Faye Ray up the side of the Empire State Building, Duke Ellington was performing nightly at the Cotton Club on 125th Street in Harlem, and two resourceful cousins named Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns legitimized a speakeasy at 21 West 52nd Street and christened it The “21” Club.
Although “21” had been raided more than once during prohibition, federal agents were never able to pin anything on Jack and Charlie. At the first sign of a raid, they would activate an ingenious system of pulleys and levers, which would sweep bottles from the bar shelves and hurl the smashed remains down a chute into the New York sewer system.
Throughout the ‘30’s, “21” was frequented by many literary figures of the time, among them: John Steinbeck, John O’Hara, Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, H. G. Wells, and Robert Sherwood. In fact, every notable of the mid 20th Century found their way to “21” at one time or another. It rivaled the patronage of other legendary New York City haunts such as the Stork Club and El Morocco as one of Café Society’s most noted hangouts.
Richard Zampella

21 Club NYC
Article by Richard Zampella

In the 1940’s, Spellbound hit theatres starring Gregory Peck and is one of the earliest films to feature/mention the “21” Club. According to Jeff Kraft and Aaron Leventhal, co-authors of Footsteps in the Fog: Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco, Mr. Hitchcock had a long-standing connection to the “21” Club. Starting with his first trip to the United States from England in the late ‘30’s, he was a regular patron of the restaurant throughout his life. Humphrey Bogart frequented “21” as a struggling actor in his pre-Hollywood days. When he wasn’t carousing with friends, he was content to sit alone at the “21”, bent earnestly over a notebook, smoking a pipe and drinking scotch, fancying himself a budding playwright. His taste in booze careened wildly between scotch, Black Velvets (equal parts Guinness and champagne), bathtub gin martinis, beer, and Jack Rose cocktails.
Bogart would return to his old haunt in 1944 and propose to a youthful Lauren Bacall at Table 30. They first worked together in To Have and Have Not, based on the novel written by “21” regular, Ernest Hemingway (who was caught making love to gangster Legs Diamond’s girlfriend in the “21” kitchen in 1931). Hollywood came to “21” years later in the ‘50’s to shoot scenes for the classic films “All About Eve” starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter and “The Sweet Smell of Success” with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.
The first of the 33 replicas of jockeys standing watch outside the front doors of “21” was donated by patron Jay Van Urk in the early ‘30’s. In 1992, a jockey was stolen from the restaurant and that news was reported on page 2 of the New York Post. The next day, a “21” regular was glancing outside his office window overlooking Washington Square Park and spotted the jockey in a shopping cart and phoned police. In 2004, there was a collection of 33 jockeys, the most recent from Saratoga Stables representing the great New York horse, Sunny Cide, winner of 2003’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness races.
In the past few years, “21” has seen its share of renovations and remains one of the few classic restaurants still existing from the golden age of New York City nightlife. It remains a refreshing throwback to the grand dining of a bygone era. The classic American fare is still deftly executed and the menu, with or without a great bottle of wine, remains an enjoyable experience for New Yorkers and visitors alike. It will no doubt provide memories for generations to come.
New York Historic Restaurants
Richard Zampella
“Richard Zampella”

A New Year’s Eve celebration at the Rainbow Room in 1935 | Richard Zampella

The Rainbow Room Richard Zampella

The Rainbow Room 1935

The Iconic Rainbow Room – A magical place to me. – Richard Zampella

Board Considering Landmark Status for Rainbow Room Said ‘No’ Once Before
-New York Times

“Richard Zampella”

Richard Zampella – Remembering my father A.D. Zampella, MD

Dr. Arthur Zampella
May 15, 1917 – January 9, 1992

“Richard Zampella” – January 9, 2014 Dr Arthur Zampella: 22nd Anniversary of his Death

North January 9, 2014 West Milford had a great loss on this date in 1992


“Richard Zampella”

Richard Zampella | Definition – Preservation, To Preserve


Preservation is defined as the act or process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity, and materials of an historic property in all forms.
-Richard Zampella

Definition: pre·serve (pr-zûrv)

1.To maintain in safety from injury, peril, or harm; protect.
2. To keep in perfect or unaltered condition; maintain unchanged.
3. To keep or maintain intact
– Richard Zampella

Richard Zampella – Starting a New Year understanding & preserving history

By Richard Zampella

In October 2012 I traveled to Santomenna a province of Salerno in the Campania region of south-western Italy. It was the ancestral birth place of Pietro Zampella my Great Grandfather. He was a demolitions expert and dynamite handler who blasted foundations for construction and cultivated olive trees for local farmers.

On my pilgrimage to the mountains high above the Adriatic Sea, I would connect to a distant family past that I had little knowledge of. I was first introduced to Jospehina, a talkative octogenarian that was convinced that I spoke the native dialect of the region. My inability to understand the Italian language did not dissuade her from recanting the stories buried deep within the recesses of her mind. Luckily there was a translator, she was the last living connection to my family history. Josephina would make sure that I would understand my family history regardless of the language barrier. Over the course of several hours she would bring me to many places and explain the significance of my “familia” history in the late 19th century. The friendly town clerk produced documents tracing my family’s humble beginnings to 1841 when Pietro Zampella of Barila, Italy was born and eventually would meet and marry Rosaria Salandra in the picturesque village of Santommena.

In the afternoon after a big Italian meal and many stories all in Italian, Josephina took to an olive grove nestled at the rocky base of town. For the first time that afternoon Josephina grew silent. I glanced at the translator, who raised her hand indicating that Josephina would speak when she was ready. Slowly Josephina spoke in drawn out syllables. The translator began to speak. We at the very spot where my Great Grandfather had nearly lost his life in a blasting accident. Pietro Zampella had been on his knees placing sticks of dynamite in the root system of an olive tree when the blast occurred. The explosion nearly killed him and would disfigure him for life. He would loose the hearing in his left ear and rob him of the sight in his left eye. Amazingly he would survive, because had he not, I would not be recanting this story.

History makes the path. What happens decides the future.
– “Richard Zampella”