A black-tie dinner on horseback

Millionaire C.K.G. Billings loved horses and a fine meal. So on March 28, 1903, he combined the two and hosted an opulent dinner on horseback for 36 of his closest male friends.

The dinner was supposed to take place at the luxe new French chateaux-like estate he’d built for himself near Fort Tryon Park. But once reporters heard about it, Billings secretly switched the location to Sherry’s, then the city’s ritziest restaurant on Fifth Avenue and 44th Street.


The event was a prime example of gilded-age excess. Sherry’s ballroom was made to mimic woodlands, complete with dirt on the floor. The horses were brought up via an elevator and had dinner trays attached to their saddles.

Each horse had feedbag of oats to chomp on as well. Courses were served by waiters dressed as grooms; guests drank champagne through rubber tubes.

Total cost: about $50,000.

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6 Responses to “A black-tie dinner on horseback”

  1. Timothy Don Says:

    Hi–could you tell me where you found this image? Great site!


  2. Timothy Don Says:

    yes–I see it there too–need something hires though… any ideas?

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    No, wish I could help.

  4. Timothy Don Says:

    No problem–truly a wonderful thing you’re doing here…
    many thanks

  5. A rich bachelor’s ball ignites a Gilded Age scandal | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] ball was held at posh Fifth Avenue society haunt Sherry’s on January 31. At 10:30 p.m., 600 guests were received in a two-story ballroom transformed to look […]

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