In New York there are still a few department stores that can afford to revel in the glory of their past, having remained superficially unchanged since the 1960s. One is Bergdorf Goodman at which, I’ve read, the cost of clothes from a shopping spree might exceed your market rate rent.
The ‘museum’ experience can be had with a breezy walk-through to the escalator stack, then up to the Seventh Floor where there is, on the uptown side of the building, the catchily named Seventh Floor Restaurant with its Madeline (Bemelmans) and Eloise (Thompson and Knight) charm, further rent gouging prices and spectacular view through wood sash windows over Sherman Square (recently restored), Pulitzer Fountain (now undergoing restoration) and the corner of Central Park usually used for major art installations. It’s also almost within view of the ‘time capsule’ zoo—yes, there is a fine zoo in New York City, and it’s right there, slightly farther uptown within easy walking distance.
I sometimes bring visiting friends to either this café or the one at the Park’s other downtown corner at Columbus Circle — ‘Robert’ in the Museum of Arts & Design.
I was once walking by Paris’ Le Printemps when I remembered reading about the 1920s Brasserie Printemps café on its sixth floor; I popped inside to take a look. Never had I seen such indulgent glory! This is not that, but it is similar, being also a time capsule, and very much a refuge from its chaotic surround.