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Mouquin's: 1910

Mouquin's: 1910

New York circa 1910. "Mouquin Restaurant & Wine Co., 456 Sixth Avenue. Part of the building was originally the Varian farmhouse; for many years the place was known as the Knickerbocker cottage." Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Mme. Mouquin

Chez Mouquin was the second Mouquin's in New York, purchased by Henri Mouquin in 1898 from the owners of the Knickerbocker Cottage, and later torn down in 1925 to make way for somebody else's cafeteria. The Mouquin family Web site provides a long chatty history of the family restaurant and its personalities, including this paragraph about the Glackens painting:

In 1905, William Glackens painted Chez Mouquin inside the Parisian style café of the uptown restaurant. The attractive redhead in the painting appears to be none other than Jeanne Louise Mouquin, seated politely with another restaurant owner, James B. Moore of the Café Francis. Glackens captured her expression of slight boredom while she waits patiently for her husband to close up and go home. The mustached James B. Moore closely resembles her husband Henri. No doubt, Henri was too busy managing the restaurant to sit for the portrait himself. Glackens may have started the painting using Moore as a stand-in for Mouquin, intending to finalize the painting with Henri. As Henri refused to sit, Glackens continued to paint Moore with Mouquin's wife, thinking it great fun to have a rival restaurant owner seated with Jeanne Louise. The painting hints at the Mouquin marriage scandal that hit the newspapers in 1900. James Moore had a reputation for squiring beautiful young girls and always referred to them as his "daughters." Needless to say, the Mouquins were not interested in buying the painting. The Chicago Art Institute currently owns it.

Sixth Avenue then and now

The restaurant was at 28th Street and Sixth Avenue; the Sixth Avenue addresses were renumbered in 1929 when the street was extended south for the construction of the IND subway.

At Mouquin's

A very elegant 1905 oil of the interior by William Glackens.

Parking No Problem

Parking would not have been a problem for the Knickerbocker folks because they'd all be driving tiny carriages pulled by tiny horses. (Small-town parades for the win.)

What's there now?

I used to live in this neighborhood and it's driving me crazy that I can't identify where this site is. Was this torn down to build Jefferson Market?

Under the Ivy

Without the close up who would ever know that there are at least four waiters peeking out from behind the 2nd floor shrubbery. Fascinating about the Shrine club connection.

Mediocre Noodles

Fascinating; always love a vintage NYC image, especially one with such an interesting past (thanks Tipsters!) Alas, though, the location now is home to Sammy's Noodles, occupying the whole half-block. Some people like their noodles, but, IMNSHO, I think they're only so-so.

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Shriners' Lunch Spot

Mouquin's predecessor, the Knickerbocker Cottage, was the birthplace in 1870 of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, better known thereafter as the Shriners. A group of Masons met there regularly for lunch, and the conviviality of those meetings inspired two of the regulars to propose a new Masonic fraternity that would emphasize fun and social interaction. With the help of other Knickerbocker Cottage regulars, Dr. Walter Fleming drafted the ritual, designed the emblem and ritual costumes, formulated a salutation, and declared that members would wear a red fez. Details of this beginning can be found at

A interesting history

Searching the New York Times for "Mouquin Restaurant" turns up several interesting stories from the early 20th century. This from April 26, 1923:

"Ten Federal prohibition agents, led by Arthur Van Tassel, at dinner hour last night raided Mouquin's restaurant, 454-8 Sixth Avenue, arrested Louis Mouquin ... "

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