Among the odder holdings of our Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections are two albums of pictures taken at a Halloween party given by one Alan Lloyd Wolfe (Album File, PR-0020-359.1 and 359.2). Why odd? For one thing we don’t know much about Mr. Wolfe other than that he lived from 1889 to 1970. On some records he appears as a salesman; on others, a realtor. He had at least one sister, Margaret (Mrs. Benjamin H. Namm), who, apparently, donated the albums to the New-York Historical Society. But whoever he was, Alan Wolfe could throw a party, and the one he threw on Halloween, 1956, which rambled for hours across Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and back, was certainly one to remember.
October 31st fell on a Wednesday in 1956. Lacking other information, we can assume the party actually took place on Halloween, and not the weekend before. The festivities started with cocktails, naturally, in a tent pitched on a dead end street near Tudor City, the apartment complex on Manhattan’s East Side.
Mr. Wolfe chartered five buses to drive his guests–some costumed, like him, in cowboy attire, but many in evening dress and casual clothes–down to the Staten Island Ferry.
On Staten Island, the party moved to Grasmere, to the Harmony Park Restaurant, for dinner . . .
. . . thrilling music . . .
. . . and wild dancing.
The Princeton Glee Club sang . . .
. . . and some of the braver guests took a bouncy hayride through Clove Lakes Park.
Then it was back to Manhattan via bus and ferry.
Lest you think the party had ended, it was on to . . . Brooklyn! And the famed 168,000-gallon salt-water swimming pool at the St. George Hotel! Really, what screams “Halloween” better than watching Princeton Glee Club members dive?
The last stop–whew!–on Mr. Wolfe’s whirlwind tour, back once more in Manhattan, was the Grand Central Oyster Bar, where the party finally petered out.
It must have been November 1st by the time Alan Lloyd Wolfe moseyed home to hang up his hat.
This post is by Joseph Ditta, Processing Archivist.