*Please be advised: the article and slideshow contain spoilers.
“If I’m going to die, I want to die in Manhattan.”
So says the manipulative account executive Pete Campbell in Season 2 of “Mad Men”. As much as it hurts to admit Campbell (played by Vincent Kartheiser) is right (ever), it’s hard to envision the hit period dramedy about advertising execs taking place anywhere but New York City.
Now in its third season, “Mad Men”, which airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on AMC, has captivated imaginations — for many, it’s the moneyed haunts and good ol’ boy bars in Gotham that make the late-1950s and early-1960s drama so much fun to watch. (The well-coiffed women in great clothes help, too.)
Centering on the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, “Mad Men” follows Don Draper (played by John Hamm), an adman with a checkered past, beautiful wife and children, and wandering eye. But that summary doesn’t do the show justice.
“Mad Men” captures the haunting despair of Don’s unfocused life and juxtaposes that misery with the gaiety and spirit of a money-drenched New York. Manhattan — its energy, glamour, wealth, and, well, alcohol—plays like another character flitting around the Sterling Cooper ad agency. Manhattan is the comic foil to Don’s emptiness.
So with a little less vice, and a lot of nostalgia, we invite you to take a spin around Don Draper’s Manhattan — the bars, hotels, and shops that the characters in “Mad Men” have (or would have) enjoyed.
Whether the show explicitly names the after-work drink spots of the secretaries, like P. J. Clarke’s on Third Avenue (just steps from the Sterling Cooper fictional offices on Madison Avenue) or gently alludes to iconic spots like the Plaza Hotel, New Yorkers and Minnesotans alike are drawn into the glam and bustle of this seemingly long-gone city.
Tourists and locals looking to re-create the show are in luck—be it lunching with the ladies at the Fifth Avenue shopping institution Bergdorf Goodman or downing a dozen Malpeques at Grand Central’s beloved Oyster Bar. Sure, we now know better than to eat a 10-ounce steak slathered in butter every night at Sardi’s — but that doesn’t stop the occasional walk down cholesterol-memory-lane. Besides, gin thins the blood.