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The Palm is a famous chain of high end restaurants that is known for steaks and having caricatures of famous people on its walls. The caricatures started at the original Palm on 2nd Avenue in New York, because the locals were cartoonists and illustrators, as explained here.

When Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi opened The Palm Restaurant in 1926, they had no money to decorate. Luckily, their location on Manhattan’s Second Avenue was in close proximity to the headquarters of King Features Syndicate and attracted a large clientele of cartoonists. In exchange for their meals, artists would often draw their own creations on the walls of The Palm.

Since then, the flagship Palm has become a living museum of cartoons and caricatures featuring such famous faces as Popeye, Batman, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, and characters from “The Family Circus.” To preserve these legendary hand-drawn sketches – many of which were drawn in charcoal and pastels – the Palm’s walls were professionally restored in 1995.


The murals were famous—kitschy maybe but real and authentic.

And now, it looks like they’re gone for good, as Eater reports.The budding has been sold and the new owner has scrubbed the walls clean.
Back in my LA days I went to the LA Palm a few times, and it also had cartoon covered walls (And almost always Dabney Coleman.) When that location over (so that a high rise hotel could be put up on the spot) they atlas offered their caricatures to the people in them.

The NY Palm’s drawings were right on the wall so nothing could have been done. Nothing stands in the way of progress, even things that are old and beautiful.

Another cool thing consigned to the memory heap. Her’s a picture of the original LA Palm. I think this is the only place outside of wine I’ve ever ordered a lobster. It was baked and stuffed—definitely not something I’d recommend but fun for a one time thing. 


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9 COMMENTS

  1. From the Palm “One” website:
    After nearly 90 years of legendary hospitality, it’s time for a restoration. Palm One temporarily closed after dinner on April 6. This is so we can undergo our first major “facelift.” As part of the renovations, we’ll be expanding the bar area, making ADA-compliant updates and restoring much of the original artwork on our walls.

    The Tribeca location seems to only offer caricatures of their guests, most of whom I did not recognize.

    Searching for images, there are two 80th anniversary artworks:
    One from King Features, featuring their characters toasting the owner.
    Another from Joe Quesada, featuring Captain America, Hulk, Spider-Man, Torch, Storm, and Wolverine.
    http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/the-palm-new-york?select=tQWoxAra92oRvYCVERGlOg

  2. The end of an era. Back in the ’80s, Kitchen Sink’s “Steve Canyon” magazine ran a feature on Milton Caniff’s drawings at the Palm and Palm Two in New York. If memory serves, Caniff drew Pat Ryan toasting a Hal Foster-drawn Prince Valiant.

  3. I’ve seen chunks of graffiti-covered brick wall and subway doors at museums, yet these guys couldn’t take two minutes to ask the art community for help in dismantling and preserving these? What a senseless tragedy.

  4. Truly tragic, and not the only one to suffer such a fate here in NYC. What was the name of the now-destroyed bar on 3rd Avenue near 23rd (near the old Marvel offices, IIRC) whose wall had been adorned with comic-book characters? The mural was visible for months once the structure had been gutted – I think it might still exist somehow, invisibly integrated into the new structure. The building might be the one that was intended to be condos but thanks to the 2007 crash ended up as NYU dorms.

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