The “Neighborhoods of Bond No. 9” Astor Place and Fragrance Review
The Astors of New York have long been associated with moneyed society. John Jacob Astor was born July 17, 1763 and came to America following the American Revolutionary War with nothing more than five pounds sterling in his pocket. Astor established himself in New York as a fur trader and built a fur-trading empire that extended to the Great Lakes region and Canada, and later expanded into the American West and Pacific coast. He married Sarah Todd on September 19, 1785; Unfortunately, I could not find any photographs of the first Mrs. Astor. Through his agents, Astor bought furs directly from the Indians in the vast Midwestern territories, in exchange for colonial wares and alcohol. Instead of selling the furs in New York, John Jacob Astor shipped them to Europe, Russia and China and traded them against luxury goods, sandalwood, tea and other merchandise which he sold in New York. Supported by the US government to retaliate against Canada’s Hudson Bay Company, Astor created the American Fur Company in 1808, which soon monopolized the fur trade in the great Missouri territory.
In 1816, in a report from PBS, John Jacob Astor joins the opium smuggling trade. His American Fur Company purchases ten tons of Turkish opium then ships the contraband item to Canton on the Macedonian. Astor would later leave the China opium trade and sell solely to England. John Jacob Astor became by far the largest landowner of New York and the richest man in America. In 1834, Astor sold out his interest in the American Fur Co and devoted all of his attention to real estate. John Jacob Astor foresaw that the next big boom would be the build-up of New York, which would soon emerge as one of the world’s greatest cities. He invested his money to buy and develop large tracts of Manhattan real estate. Predicting the rapid growth northward on Manhattan Island, Astor purchased more and more land beyond the current city limits. After retiring from business in the 1830’s, he then devoted the rest of his life as a famed patron of the arts.
When he died in 1848, his fortune was estimated at over $ 20 million and Astor was the wealthiest person in the United States. John Jacob Astor had two sons and three daughters. He was a sponsor of John James Audubon and the poet and writer Edgar Allan Poe. In his will, he left a fortune to build the Astor Library, which was later consolidated with other libraries to form the New York Public Library. John Jacob Astor is buried in the Trinity Churchyard Cemetery in Manhattan. Since his eldest son was disabled, the Astor fortune was left to the second son, William Backhouse Astor, who proved a worthy heir.
All of us take for granted, the famous marble lions that guard the entrance of the New York Public Library. Next time you are in New York City, remember that one of them was named in honor of John Jacob Astor. The pair of male lions that sit at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street were originally named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, after Astor and James Lenox, who founded the library. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia renamed them “Patience” and “Fortitude” during the Great Depression.
For generations, there have been Astors in New York history. One was Colonel John Jacob Astor IV who was born on July 13th, 1864. He was the son of William Astor and the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor. His second wife was the very young Madeleine Force, and the marriage stirred up a great deal of scandal in New York society. The newlyweds decided to winter abroad in order to let the gossip die down at home. Mr. and Mrs. Astor traveled to Egypt and Paris and in the spring of 1912 decided to return to America as First-Class Passengers on board the Titanic. As the mighty Titanic started sinking, he tried to join his pregnant wife on her lifeboat, which was filled with women and children but he was not allowed to join her. It has been reported that Astor then lit a cigarette and stood back. At 1.55 a.m. Astor stood alone watching his wife’s boat lowered to safety. He and his dog Kitty were last seen on deck.
The Astor Place Riot (a riot over two actors) occurred on May 10, 1849 at the now-demolished Astor Opera House and the Astor Place Theater is an off-Broadway house located on Lafayette Street in the NoHo section. The theater is located in the historic Colonnade Row, originally constructed in 1831 as a series of nine connected buildings, of which only four remain. Designed in Greek Revival style and fronted by imposing marble columns, the buildings served as residences for the Astor and Vanderbilt families, and are among the oldest structures in the city. Since 1991, the theater has served as home to the Blue Man Group, which now owns the theater.
In the glorious past of New York City, Astor Place is the area between Broadway and Third Avenue, and in-between 14th and Houston Streets. In 1967, Tony Rosenthal’s multi-ton gravity-defying geometric black metal sculpture, known as “the Cube,” was installed on its vertical axis right in the center of the plaza where Lafayette meets the Bowery and is still a famous landmark today.
For many years, the members of the Astor family were known as “the landlords of New York.” Their New York City namesakes are the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, an Astor Row, Astor Court, Astor Place, and Astor Avenue in the Bronx where the Astors used to stable horses. The neighborhood of Astoria, Queens, is named after the family as well. There are many wonderful books written on all of the Astors and they give a heady glimpse into the glittering and sumptuous Gilded Age. There were also numerous “Mrs. Astors” in society and each Mrs. Astor was an American queen. The Astors remain a family whose wealth and power dominated New York City society for generations and continues today.
Astor Place Fragrance Review
Bond No. 9 Astor Place, the scent, won the coveted 2010 FiFi Award for Best Fragrance Women’s Nouveau Niche. The Perfumer for the winning scent is Laurent Le Guernec and Bond No. 9 was also the recipient of a second award for 2010 FiFi Fragrance of the Year, Men’s Nouveau Niche for the scent “Brooklyn”.
Inspired by New York’s Most Vibrant Arts-and-Style Intersection, Bond No. 9 describes this fragrance as an “intoxicatingly fresh spring floral that starts out with a bold and unapologetically seductive freesia-poppy-violet leaf composition, and then simmers down into the smooth, steady notes of teakwood and musk.” The Astor Place flacon “echoes the angles and cubes of the Rosenthal sculpture, but renders them in a range of triangles displaying the richest array of colors ever seen in the Bond No. 9 bottle repertory. These triangles also recall Astor Place’s lampposts, curbs, and even cracks in the pavement which are lovingly decorated with mosaic tile shards by local denizens.”
I usually test fragrances by wearing them in heavy doses (I prefer it that way) and I sometimes test with my local girlfriend, Connie. She is also a perfumista and collects fragrances; she has also developed a good nose and if she loves it on me, I listen. We both have the same taste in fragrances but I am always the ultimate judge of what works best for me. For her, Astor Place had the “WOW” factor when she sniffed it.
My taste is wide and varied; I love floral’s such as Chinatown, Chelsea Flowers, Union Square, Bryant Park and the latest Madison Square Park. I adore Fleur Orientals such as the Bond No. 9 Signature Perfume and Nuit De Noho. I have a huge collection of white floral fragrances with Gardenia and Tuberose; such as Harrods for Her & Saks for Her. I also love Rose fragrances such as Saks En Rose, Harrods Rose and the stunning rosiness of Washington Square. I collect Orientals, Ambers and Incense fragrances such as New York Oud, New Haarlem, and Silver Factory. I am anxiously awaiting an “Amber” scent from the House of Bond, fingers crossed. Finally, I also adore “summer scents” and cannot wait to explore the “Beach’s of Bond” this summer.
Astor Place seems to fit into a category of its own. What is Astor Place like on me? It is a clean, fresh and sparkling spring-like floral with very flirtatious overtones. This award winning floral, as with other scents in the Bond No. 9 collection, develops and morphs in intriguing ways. Astor Place is a light ethereal fragrance without being sweet or cloying. The fragrance opens with a blend of violet leaf and citrusy mandarin zest. It’s the top notes that give this scent its crisp freshness. The middle notes merge with freesia, red poppy buds and orris which rounds it out to a soft sexiness. The dry down lends way to a sensuous woody scent of teakwood, musk and amber which adds its great warmth. The gorgeous bottle is a jewel mosaic of colors and the sillage is excellent as well as the longevity. I have now been wearing Astor Place for five days straight and have received a ton of compliments. I wear fragrances to please myself and when one receives compliments on top of that, you know you have hit a home run.
Knowing it has won a FiFi Award is just icing on the cake now! -RB
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Check out our video below of The Bond Guy, Douglas Marshall, as he visits Astor Place!
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Bond No. 9 New York Boutiques
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