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Nightclub hand signals

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 03, 2009

A Continuous Lean found some great Life magazine photos of Sherman Billingsley, the owner of a famous NYC nightclub called The Stork Club, which club was frequented by celebrities, artists, and the well-to-do from 1929 to 1965. In the photos, Billingsley is pictured at his club giving secret hand signals to his assistant while sitting with guests.

Stork Club Hand Signals

Closeup of Stork Club owner Sherman Billingsley [with his] palm up on table, one of his signals to nearby assistant which means “Bring a bottle of champagne,” while sitting w. patrons over his usual Coca Cola, in the Cub Room.

Billingsley’s signals cleverly allowed the club to provide seamless good service to his favored patrons while also letting him be the bad guy with less favorable customers without them knowing it. Billingsley went on to be the third base coach for the Yankees in the late 60s. (Untrue.)

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