'Speakeasies of NYC: A Tale of Crime, Creativity, and Celebration' Webinar

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Can't make it live? Register and get access to the full replay for one week! New York Adventure Club | www.AdventureClub.com

About this Event

Exactly 100 years ago, the unimaginable happened: alcohol of every kind was effectively banned in America. But for cities like New York City, a little ol' constitutional ban wasn't going to stop people from continuing to have fun — rather than shut down, the city's nightlife simply moved underground (literally and figuratively). This is the story of how illicit drinking spots known as speakeasies were born, and how they not only defined the "Roaring 20s" in New York, but ushered in social changes that are still felt a century later.

Join New York Adventure Club as we explore the history of speakeasies in New York City, and how the strict men's only drinking clubs of pre-1920s America were replaced with cosmopolitan watering holes where the only rule was to have fun.

Led by Sylvia Laudien-Meo — art historian, museum educator, and NYC tour guide — this virtual journey around NYC's speakeasies will include:

  • An overview of the Temperance Movement, from the series of events that led to the 18th Amendment in 1920, to the complex effects it had on NYC's social life, to creative ways people worked around it
  • The rise and proliferation of the Speakeasy — while it created new trouble in American society like bootlegging and organized crime, it also paved the way for a burgeoning of gifted entertainers and the women's social liberation movement
  • A closer look at some of the most infamous NYC speakeasies, including Lansky's Lounge and Chumley's, larger dance halls like the Stork's Club or 300 Club, and secret beer caves in the Bronx
  • How speakeasies kept their operations hush-hush, from quietly transporting booze to their bars, to escape routes and tunnels, to tricks they used to hide their illicit operations in case they were raided
  • Suggestions on today's best speakeasies in NYC, both original and revival

Afterward, we'll have a Q&A with Sylvia — any and all questions about New York's speakeasies are welcomed and encouraged!

Can't make it live? Don't worry, you'll have access to the full replay for one week!

See you there, virtually!

*Immediately upon registering, you will receive a separate, automated email containing the link to join this webinar

**For the best possible viewing experience, please ensure you're using the latest version of your internet browser — Google Chrome is the most compatible. Exact technical requirements and a webinar user guide will be shared in the automated confirmation email upon registration.

***A full replay of the experience will be available to all registered guests for up to a week

About Sylvia

Sylvia Laudien-Meo is a freelance Art Historian who works in and around the city in various capacities, specializing on Modern and Contemporary art, with a strong focus on Public Art. She teaches art history at Fairleigh Dickinson University and has been working as a museum educator at MoMA, the Guggenheim and the Jewish Museum for over many years, engaging visitors in conversation based, interactive art experiences of permanent collections and changing exhibitions.

For the Municipal Art Society, UFT, Brandeis Univ., and private clients, she has been touring the city for over 20 years, exploring art and architecture, parks, neighborhoods and history. Working in various different capacities gives her a unique opportunity to make intriguing connections and weave together the complex perspectives that make out the tapestry of our fascinating city.

SLM holds a Masters Degree in Art History (with minors in History and American Studies) from the Joh. Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, as well as a Tourism degree from the EST in Paris France.


"Sylvia was a wealth of information on the subject! I loved the photos and vintage posters she had in her presentation" -Leslie

"There were many interesting historical facts about Prohibition and speakeasies. Some of the pictures were also interesting." -Alexandra

"Great info, sharing history up to the present complete with what may or may not be open, and presented at a good pace. Very interesting topic, and a good presenter, too!" -Denise

"Loved the multiple themes of social history (Temperance, Prohibition, club ownership, mafia, music) and the architecture of historic and extant speakeasies, along with the anecdotes about the origins of expressions like “86’d” and “bootlegging.”" -Kristan

"I liked all the great history, stories, pics and addresses to go visit the next time I’m in NYC" -Deborah

"Very informative, great historical perspective, fun to learn about places we visited when we lived in the city" -John

"Photos, history, presentation -- all clear and fascinating." -Vicki

"A lot of history on the subject that was well researched" -Shirley


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Categories: Arts, Historic Sites, Hidden Spots, Virtual

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