When I was a little girl, I owned a black velvet dress trimmed with white lace that my mother made for me. I’m certain I wore this dress with patent leather shoes and possibly even a satin ribbon in my hair, although since my family wasn’t big on taking photos, I don’t actually have evidence. I was a little girl who liked to dress up, and if I had someplace fancy to go, all the better.
Before I got pregnant, if you had asked me what flavor of children I would have, I would have answered with absolute assurance that I would have little girls. Little girls I could dress in velvet and ribbons and patent leather. Little girls who would, as I did, love china tea sets and the Madeline stories by Ludwig Bemelmans.
There are many reasons that I adore Madeline. Red hair, a residence in Paris, no fear of mice, a stint in the circus, a Spanish boyfriend….
And in fact, I may have two boys who will never wear velvet, but they love her too, and especially enjoy the fact that they saw many of the monuments that serve as backdrops in the stories when we went to Paris two years ago.
So I feel confident in my Monday dream today, a dream of sampling a Madeline Tea in the charming Bemelmans bar at the Carlyle in Manhttan. (That the boys enjoy a fancy tea was confirmed at Fortnum and Mason this past July, so no worries there.) The author and illustrator of the Madeline books painted the murals in this famous room in 1947, setting these images of children ice skating or bunnies playing Ring Around the Rosy in Central Park. Apparently he received an 18-month stay in the hotel in exchange for his work, so I guess bartering art for travel wasn’t discovered by the bloggers.
I’ve reviewed the Madeline Tea menu, and if we make it to The Carlyle, I can tell you that the boys won’t be sampling chicken fingers or potato chips from the buffet. No, we will order the classic tea with finger sandwiches and scones and pastries. And then we’ll sit back and admire the artwork and enjoy the cabaret singer Tina De Varon, who apparently has some Madeline-related songs in her repertoire. And when we’re done, maybe we’ll grab a balloon and go for stroll in the Central Park Zoo, where we can tell the tiger pooh pooh.
If you’re interested in the Madeline Tea, please call (212) 744-1600 to make a reservation. Teas are offered on Saturdays through the end of 2010 at 10:00am or 12:30pm and cost 40 dollars per person, 20 dollars for children younger than three. And if you’ve got your own Monday Dream, please feel free to share a link below (just link back to this post please – see here for details).
Photo of the Bemelmans Bar courtesy of The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel