html xmlns:og='' xmlns:expr=''> Lounging at the Waldorf: Harmony


Monday, September 9, 2013


It happens every time I see a picture like this. It's a little voice that says, "Get out."

No, not get out of the house. This isn't an '80's horror movie! This little voice is a more benevolent spirit. She whispers, "Get out of NYC...there's an diamond in the rough waiting for you..."

Perhaps it's an abandoned summer camp upstate. Maybe it's a former railway station in Oregon or Pennsylvania. Or maybe it's a three-floor, 20,000 square foot beauty built in Selma, Alabama in 1909, boarded up in the '60's and re-imagined forty years later. Oh, wait. Someone else has already gotten their mittens on it. Damn!

This is The Harmony Club, a one time was a Jewish social club, shopping destination, and eatery overlooking the banks of the Alabama River.

The first floor had two retail spaces while the second floor housed a restaurant up front and a Men’s Lounge in the back. Not surprisingly, the Men’s Lounge, with it's pool table and poker games, was off limits to the public and, get this, had a no wives policy. “Ladies,” however, were allowed.

Men. Harrumph!

The third floor was a ballroom and, now that I think about it, shouldn't every building have a ballroom? 

The Harmony Club was in operation until 1930’s at which point it became an Elks Lodge. The last Elks meeting was held sometime in the 1960’s and the building sat boarded up until David Hurlbut bought it in 1999.

Today, Hurlbut operates the first floor as an art space and there are hopes of opening restaurant.
All photos  © Robert Rausch of GAS Design Center via The New York Times.

He did it. He listened to the little voice that chants, "Do it! Do it! Do it!"

For more info about this ongoing labor of love, here's a link to Mr. Hurlbut's website which has more, newer images. Also, here's a link to an article about the space that appeared in the New York Times.

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