Given the distressing events of last night’s Mad Men (“Commissions and Fees”), we kind of lost our appetite.
So, as we await the season finale, let’s take a short detour to Garrison, New York, an hour up the Hudson from mid-town Manhattan. Yesterday, we gave a historic tour of ten cocktails featured in Mad Men and The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook to a delightful group of people assembled at Manitoga, the historic home and studio of the mid-century industrial designer Russel Wright. Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center is devoted to preserving the
legacy of the one of the most influential 20th century designers, and words can hardly describe this oasis of serenity and natural beauty nestled on a hillside across the Hudson from West Point. Wright’s home is a modernist wonder that is at one with the surrounding natural environment.
“For more than 40 years beginning in the 1920’s, the industrial designer Russel Wright was to Macy’s and other New York stores what Michael Graves is today to Target and Martha Stewart is to Kmart,” said The New York Times in 2006. “His philosophy — good design is for everyone — spawned a lifestyle movement. Everything manufactured in his name, including dinnerware, furniture and household items, was sophisticated, and all of it was cheap. With a genial smile and marketing genius, he ushered modernism out of the museum and into middle-class suburbia.”
Those familiar with Wright’s iconic designs will see evidence of his influence on the sets of Mad Men, including Don and Megan’s Park Avenue apartment.
“Nowhere are the principles that guided Wright’s designs more apparent than in the property in Garrison, N.Y.,” said the Times, “that he made his woodland retreat and christened Manitoga, an Algonquin word translated as Place of the Great Spirit.”
It was a treat for us to visit Manitoga, experience the beauty
of the home and surroundings, and even enjoy drinks and lunch, all served on Russel Wright’s glass and ceramic ware. A special shout-out and thanks to Max, Russel Wright’s grandson, who expertly mixed the Bloody Mary, the Old Fashioned and, appropriately enough, the Algonquin cocktail for guests! Please see our Facebook album for photos of Manitoga and the event.