According to General Manager Teddy Suric, “The jockeys have long been a fabric of ‘21’ and serve as an iconic backdrop for New York City dining. It’s been nearly 20 years since our last major jockey restoration so we felt now was the time and this being a Triple Crown year was the icing on the cake.” This Autumn, we will be welcoming the entire collection plus a new jockey in honor Zayat Stables.

* The tradition began in the early 1930’s with ‘21’ regular, Jay Van Urk
* All of the 35 jockeys in the collection were given as gifts from our guests
* Each jockey weighs 125-150 and is made entirely of cast iron
* Zayat Stables and American Pharoah were the first to win the Triple Crown in 37 years
* Three other Triple Crown winners are represented in the ‘21’ jockeys (Calumet Farms 1941 and 1948 and Secretariat 1973)

Local artist Andrew Tedesco, a long time horse racing fan himself, has been called upon by ‘21’ for the past 20+ years for not just the jockeys but for any number of enhancements from painting the elevators to updating the murals.  During the 8-week long makeover, this local artist will sand down, patch up and repaint each 125 -150 pound iron statue by hand using oil based, polyurethane paint and a customized lever system to lift the jockeys up on dollies that will then rotate to aid with drying.  He and his team have spent countless hours researching the silks, or shirts worn by a jockey representing each stable, from the exact coloring down to the buttons on the jockey’s hat.

The jockey tradition began with Jay Van Urk, a socialite, sportsman and overall jack-of-all-trades. Back in the 1930’s, Van Urk was a ‘21’ regular, visiting daily for his chicken hash at his favorite table, No. 9. As a token of his appreciation for the daily hospitality, Van Urk donated a jockey statue to then owners Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns, thus starting a decades long tradition unbeknownst to him.  Since then some of America’s most famous breeders, owners and ‘21’ regulars have followed in Van Urk’s footsteps, including the Vanderbilt, Mellon and Ogden Mills Phipps families, as well as the Galbreath clan, owners of the famous Darby Dan Farms.  In addition to those donated by a stable, the collection also includes one in honor of Secretariat, another Triple Crown winning horse from 1973 and for breast cancer awareness, donated by a ‘21’ regular that is active in the cause.

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