Atlas Obscura is Hiring! Join us in pursuit of wonder.

Society Adventures: Masonic Mysteries and Historic Cocktails at the the Grand Lodge of New York

article-imageA glamorous guest pondering the grandeur of the New York Masonic Lodge (photograph by Steven Acres)

Ever fascinated by the impenetrable Freemasons, the New York Obscura Society recently delved into the fascinating world of secret societies with an elaborate cocktail gala at the Grand Masonic Lodge of New York.

Founded in 1782 and at one time holding the largest membership of any Masonic lodge worldwide, New York’ s Grand Lodge contains floor after floor of ornate hallways and decadently designed rooms, all discreetly hidden within a rather nondescript 23rd Street location. Typically accessible only to initiated Freemasons, the building is as grand and full of mystery as the historic organization itself.

article-image
An impressive entryway to the Masonic Lodge (photograph by Steven Acres)

article-image
Each guest selected a thistle, lavender, or rose before joining our “society” for the evening (photograph by Michelle Enemark)

article-image
The truly gorgeous setting for our cocktail party (photograph by Mitch Waxman)

article-imageThe antique organ of the Grand Lodge’s Renaissance Room (photograph by Mitch Waxman)

We were welcomed to the lodge by the Livingston Masonic Library’s head librarian Tom Savini, who shared a rather cryptic history of Freemasonry before inviting us all to enjoy the transcendental nature of our lavish surroundings.  Occult America author Mitch Horowitz delved further into the hidden and esoteric in his discussion of historic secret societies, and Denny Daniel brought a fascinating array of Mason-related items from his Museum of Interesting Things for guests to explore.

article-image
Occult expert Mitch Waxman captivates the crowd (photograph by Steven Acres)

article-image
Guests engaged in Mitch’s esoteric musings (photograph by Steven Acres)

article-image
A resplendent crowd, fit for the most exclusive society gathering (photograph by Mitch Waxman)

article-imageA fascinating collection of antique treasures inviting hands-on exploration and discovery (photograph by Steven Acres)

With an open bar designed by cocktail historian Orr Shtuhl — author of An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails — featuring drinks traditionally rooted in high society members-only clubs, and the vintage jazz melodies of the Hot Club of Flatbush, our immaculately dressed crowd reveled in the beauty and heady symbolism of the Grand Lodge, enjoying exclusive access to a truly enigmatic and special place.

article-image(photograph by Mitch Waxman)

article-image
The fabulous Hot Club of Flatbush (photograph by Steven Acres)

article-image
The Hot Club of Flatbush (photograph by Steven Acres)

article-image
May the dancing begin… (photograph by Steven Acres)

article-imageReveling in the night’s festivities (photograph by Steven Acres)

Masonic Mysteries and Secret Societies: An Atlas Obscura Cocktail Gala took place January 31, 2014 in the Renaissance Room of the Grand Masonic Lodge of New York.


article-image

The Obscura Society is the real-world exploration arm of Atlas Obscura We seek out secret histories, unusual access, and opportunities for our community to explore strange and overlooked places hidden all around us. Join us on our next adventure!

All Upcoming Obscura Society Events