Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mae West: The Hofbrau Firefly

When MAE WEST was on Broadway during the 1920s, her "shady lady" characters smoked onstage. Offstage, the Brooklyn blonde was seen lighting up in nightclubs and restaurants.
• • At the time, a lot of actors and actresses who smoked were being tapped to appear in well-paid endorsements for tobacco products — — and Mae promoted the Old Gold brand. Years later, when she had contracted maturity onset diabetes and was being more careful about her health, she quit smoking. Thus began the tall tales about having had her stage cigarettes "de-nicotinized" — — as if this was [ahem!] a common request during the Prohibition Era.
• • As much as Mae enjoyed playing the bad girl on Broadway, in her private life she really delighted in something even more rebellious: going off her diet and high-diving into rich German food. Tillie was always reminding her five-foot-tall daughter to take smaller portions. She told an interviewer that one reason she never taught Mae to cook or bake is because she feared her darling would overdo it, stuffing herself on homemade Black Forest Cake, Apple Torte, Spritzkuchen [crullers], and other fatal forkfuls.
• • The Triangle Hofbrau, 1893 — 1999 • •
• • Occasionally, Mae sneaked away for culinary thrills on Hillside Avenue at the Triangle Hofbrau, a comfortable place where she could smoke and eat far from her mother's scrutiny. One evening, as her cigarette burned in the ashtray, Mae was gorging on a Wiener Schnitzel and didn't notice the tablecloth caught on fire. A quick thinking waiter put out the flames.
• • Where Myrtle Meets Hillside Avenue • •
• • According to a local Queens County historian Carl Ballenas: "A part of Richmond Hill was unofficially known as 'Berlin' in the 1800s on account of its large German population."
• • According to The Wall Street Journal's real estate reporter Kavita Mokha: The intersection of Myrtle and Hillside Avenues is a historic landmark unto itself and illustrates the changing landscape. It was once home to three iconic businesses that have each closed their doors in recent years after nearly a century in existence: Jahn's, a German-owned ice-cream parlor; the Triangle Hofbrau, a German eatery; and Salerno's, a longstanding Italian restaurant. ... And a few steps from where Jahn's once stood is a medical office building that until the year 1999 housed the Triangle Hofbrau, once the oldest restaurant in Queens. The Hofbrau, opened in 1893, is said to have been a favorite haunt of Babe Ruth and Mae West. ...
— — Source: — —
• • Article: "New Immigrants Put Stamp on Richmond Hill"
• • By: Kavita Mokha
• • Published in: The Wall Street Journal
• • Published on: 20 August 2010

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1932 and 1934 • •
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