On the Wall: Murals at New York Restaurants and Bars

The stories behind 11 of the city’s most impressive—and permanent—artworks.

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
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Bemelmans Bar

Nearly a decade after publishing his masterpiece Madeline in 1939, author and artist Ludwig Bemelmans—for whom Bemelmans Bar is named—was invited to take his charming, whimsical drawings to the walls of The Carlyle’s famed piano bar. In response, Bemelmans created a fantastical ode to Central Park, complete with ice-skating elephants, a grand dame snake wrapped in fur, gentlemanly rabbits sipping wine and other well-appointed animals engaging in decidedly “adult” activities (though Madeline and her classmates make an appearance, too). In 2002 designer Thierry Despont restored the interior’s golden Art Deco details (nickel-trimmed black glass tabletops, black granite bar, 24-karat gold-leaf ceiling), as well as its cherished wraparound mural—whose charming characters can also be found on the lamp shades. 35 E. 76th St.; 212-744-1600; rosewoodhotels.com.