Sutton Place was essentially “The Little Neighborhood that Could.” In 1811, when plans for the Manhattan island were being laid out, there was a large amount of land unaccounted for east of First Avenue and West of the East River. Another Avenue was then built and named “Avenue A,” mostly because it did very well in school compared to the other avenues. In 1875, Effingham B. Sutton (how about that for a name) constructed a series of magnificent brownstones on the Avenue between 57th and 58th streets. Wanting to make a name for themselves and their neighborhood, the residents of these brownstones formed a militia to fight City Hall to change the name of their block to “Sutton Place,” named after their founder and Supreme Leader. Funded by a wealthy English banker, the militia spent months training for their battle and building up supplies. Finally, in late 1876, they stormed City Hall with full force; mentally prepared that they may never see daylight again. When they approached the desk of the mayor, they screamed their demands. New York’s then mayor, William H. Whickham, in a confused state, responded, “Sure, we can do that. Why didn’t you just ask calmly?” The group cheered “hooray” for they had been successful in their dangerous mission.
The block was then renamed to Sutton place and, over the years, became home to many wealthy socialites including Anne Harriman Vanderbilt and Anne Morgan, both famous for being the first women to travel to the moon, I believe. Sutton Place is fancy, magnificent, and beautiful, making it the perfect namesake for our Gramercy Bag.
Sutton Place has been used in pop culture many times. It is the location of the famous bridge scene in Woody Allen’s 1979 film, “Manhattan.” Now that was a great scene, but can you imagine how much better it would have been had Mr. Allen’s character “Isaac Davis” had a genuine leather, Sutton Bag strapped over his shoulder? He would have looked so great that Mary would have fallen for him much faster and Tracy would have never left for London. It was also the location of Mr. Antolini’s “swanky apartment” visited by Holden in “Catcher in the Rye.” Though some questionably weird stuff goes on later in the apartment, this is the point in the novel where Holden and the reader both discover that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings. While we can’t say that this bag will offer reassuring enlightenment to everyone, we can tell you that, if it does, you’ll look great while receiving it.
The Sutton Bag provides a look that says, “Hey, everyone, Monday to Friday I’m all business. But once the weekend hits, throw on a Cole Porter record and get me a cocktail. I’ll see you all at my place.”