Am Palmenstrand

„Madness – Under the Royal Palms“

1Palm Beach gilt als die Stadt mit der höchsten Milliardärsdichte im Sonnenscheinstaat Florida, wenn nicht sogar in ganz Amerika. Als Urlaubs- und Erholungsmekka für wohlhabende Amerikaner wurde der Ort schon früh bekannt und zog aufgrund des milden Klimas Touristen aus der ganzen Welt an, die sich in den luxuriösen Hotels am Strand niederließen. Henry M. Flagler galt als Gründer und Visionär der Stadt, schuf er doch in den 1890ern die Eisenbahnlinie und das „Royal Poinciana“ Hotel am Strand. Ein Startschuss für den Bauboom von herrschaftlichen Villen, direkt am weißen Sandstrand – ein perfektes Zuhause für den Millionär. Palm Beach wurde zum Synonym für Reichtum und bekannt für pompöse Bälle und Galadinners. Einen bildhaften Eindruck vom Palm Beach der vergangenen Tage gibt es nun, in Form einer kleinen Leseprobe aus dem Buch „Madness – Under the Royal Palms“ von Laurence Leamer, in erster Linie zur Architektur und dem locker-leichten Leben in den Beach Clubs…

[…] On the grounds where Joe had fought alligators stood the magnificient Mizner-designed Everglades Club, the center of the social life of the island. Along Worth Avenue rose other Spanish/Moorish-inspired Mizner buildings, including a five-story villa with a turretlike room at the top that was his studio, like a lighthouse above the village. Beneath was a twisting narrow passageway full of small shops that evoked an image of medieval Spain. In the surrounding streets stood about a hundred homes designed by Mizner, including great mansions and petite villas. Interspersed around them were estates and homes that blended into the architect`s fantasy, designed by several other notable architects, including Maurice Fatio and Joseph Urban. It was a magical scene, a bit of Spain, a dash of Morocco, a hint of Paris, a flourish of Hollywood, and something exotic, jungle Florida as well […] Vera had no sooner passed the Bath & Tennis Club than the apricot-colored spire and red Cuban tiled roof of Mar-a-Lago loomed up, the property stretching from the Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway. Mar-a-Lago is the most famous monument on the island. The 114-room building has a mythical aura, as if somewhere in the recesses of the 62,000-square-foot-mansion resides the spirit of Palm Beach`s earliest years. Vera had been to this most celebrated of Palm Beach estates many times. When she had arrived on the island in 1970, Marjorie Merriweather Post still reigned over Mar-a-Lago with an impeccable sense of propriety that had changed little since she opened the estate in 1927. The four-times-married cereal heiress was largely deaf, but that didn`t prevent her from having formal dinners for thirty-six, in which a liveried footman stood behind every chair in the gilded dining room.

1b[…] Donald Trump had purchased Mar-a-Lago in 1985 for eight million dollars, plus three million for the furnishings. Trump was the new Palm Beach: a loud, assertive, energetic force that overwhelmed the well-tended garden of entitlement.

2[…] There is nothing the old elite hates so much and fears so profoundly as Donald Trump`s club. Mar-a-Lago is a pure plutocracy open to anybody who has the $100,000 membership fee, the §5,000 annual dues and enough money to ring up hefty bills each month.

3[…] Palm Beach residents had always assumed that when they drove to the Bath & Tennis or the Everglades for dinner, they were entering the most desirable venue in town, but at Mar-a-Lago, the entertainment is more exciting, the scene more energized. The two-story cabanas at Mar-a-Lago were gorgeous, whereas the old beachfront wooden cabanas at the B & T could sit comfortably next to the Bates Motel in Psycho. At Trump`s club, the members lie on lounges next to the Olympic-size pool where white-coated waiters serve them pina coladas and shrimp salads, while next door, the B & T members stand in a cafeteria line for lunch.

4[…] Barbara knew that although Palm Beach pretended that it was about class, it was about money. When two women met for the first time, they chattered benignly while sizing each other up – shoes Gucci, dress Galanos, handbag Lieber, teeth capped, hair coiffed, accent understated, homes Park Avenue and Everglades Road – so that within five minutes they had precisely pegged each other.69

„Madness – Under the Royal Palms”; Love and Death behind the gates of Palm Beach; Autor: Laurence Leamer; Verlag: Hyperion Books; ISBN: 978-1-4013-2291-5

[Bilder von oben nach unten: Everglades Club:; Mar-a-Lago:; Mar-a-Lago, Classic Car Event:; Frau am Pool:; © Anthony Friedkin; Frau auf Liegestuhl:; Wochenende am See:; Ehepaar vor Villa: ]

Ebenfalls empfehlenswertes Coffetable Book zum Thema Palm Beach: „In the spirit of Palm Beach“ von Pamela Fiori!

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