Christopher Street is a fragrance designed to ‘sparkle,’ an homage to the many stages and dance floors that line the path from Jefferson Market to Pier 45. In the world of fragrance, when you want to add a little ‘sparkle’ to the top, no ingredient works better than bergamot. This beautifully ethereal citrus material adds the illusion of light to any fragrance.
Let There Be Light
If the fragrance story of Christopher Street opens with enjoying an alcoholic lime cocktail, it is quickly followed by the dash of light stemming from the incorporation of bergamot. Like a spotlight beckoning you to the dance floor, the sharp, brightness of bergamot leads you in the direction of the scent’s heart.
Music, dance, celebration… these are words that have always been a part of life on Christopher Street. Whether thinking of the bygone speakeasies of 1920s Village life, or the infamous underground bars and private clubs of 60s/70s nightlife, Christopher Street has existed as a destination for going out, letting go, and having some fun. Even today, every block down to the waterfront is home to at least one “night-out” venue, no matter what your pleasure. These venues are a series of spaces where memories of Christopher Street are made. Here’s just a small sampling of some of the “lights” on Christopher Street:
Pieces Bar (8 Christopher Street) – Pieces is truly a West Village staple, best known for cheap drinks, friendly bartenders, and a killer karaoke night. Since 1993, this little dive bar has been a neighborhood mainstay. During the 1970s, 8 Christopher Street was the site of Uncle Paul’s, a notorious young hustler pick-up joint. Uncle Paul’s was followed by a restaurant called Pharaoh’s in the 80s.
Stonewall Inn (51-53 Christopher Street) – Stonewall is known as the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. On June 28, 1969, NYPD and Alcoholic Beverage Control Board agents entered The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street allegedly looking for violations of the alcohol control laws. The night was supposed to be a routine raid, the sort of thing that frequently punctuated gay nightlife. However, on this night, tensions escalated and, instead of quietly slipping away into the night, hustlers, drag queens, students and other Stonewall patrons fought back. That night has come to be remembered as the catalyst for the modern gay and lesbian rights movement.
Duplex Piano Bar & Cabaret (61 Christopher Street) – Though up until the 80s it was located across the street, Duplex is said to be New York City’s oldest surviving cabaret theater. The downstairs piano bar attracts a host of talent from newcomers, to legendary stage and screen stars. Test your chops on one of the venues many open mic nights on Christopher Street.
Fat Cat (75 Christopher Street) – This basement space on Christopher Street is a great place to grab a drink and listen to some live jazz and piano music. Fat Cat is also a game-playing haven, offering Scrabble, Backgammon, Fussball, Table Shuffleboard, and Billiards.
Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street) – This space was originally built in 1926 as the New Hudson movie theater before being renamed as the Hudson Playhouse in the 1930s. In the 1950s, the theater transformed into the off Broadway Theater de Lys. This Christopher Street location officially became known as the Lucille Lortel Theatre in 1981, in honor of owner since 1955, actress-producer Lucille Lortel (the venue was a gift from her husband).
Outside the theater is the Playwrights’ Sidewalk, “New York’s only permanent monument to great Playwrights whose work has been performed at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and other Off Broadway Theatres.”
All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His act being seven ages…
– William Shakespeare
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) – Derived from the Turkish word ‘beg-armudi‘ meaning ‘the prince’s pear,’ a reference to the fruit’s pear shape. Bergamot is known to be native to tropical Asia, but is now cultivated in southern Italy (Calabria), Sicily, and Spain as well as in parts of South America and West Africa. Bergamot is a key ingredient in modern perfumery, used widely in formulations geared towards both men and women, but is probably best known as an essential component in Eau de Colognes. Bergamot possesses a fresh, fruity, almost floral-like odor (stemming from linalool). Bergamot oil is obtained through expression of the rind.
The scent of bergamot is probably most widely recognized in Earl Grey tea (yet another nod to McNulty’s Coffee and Tea), though it is also used to flavor candy and other desserts. During the 18th century, references can be found mentioning “bergamotes,” which were small papier-maché boxes containing pieces of bergamot rind.