You almost have to be afraid to sit down in them, those French café chairs. Because you know who sat there before you: Hemingway, Matisse, Sartre, Fitzgerald, Picasso.
Psychic energy of mythic proportions. What on earth can account for it?
Since most people with whom I've spoken seem to think that the artistic, literary and philosophical tradition associated with the French café began in gay Paree, one may conclude that it's something in the gay Parisian air.
The only problem is that, actually, the café was born in gay Istanbul. But it was a precursor of its Parisian counterparts from the outset.
Oh, as in Paris, the café was, of course, a place for social gatherings. Although, back in 1457, when the first coffeehouse, Kiva Han, opened in Istanbul, it was limited to the society of men. Still, they drank the conventional coffee, read books, and played chess. But - most important - they talked!
Yes, even then, the café was the home of ideas, of new ways of thinking. That is, the café has always been home to troublemakers. You know: those gabby intellectuals who continue to change the world.
Like the good folks who brought you the French Revolution.
Which just goes to show that the concerns of those fifteenth century imams were not unfounded: they concluded it was prudent to ban those early cafés!
But banning has never yet prevented free thought and new ideas. The energy of those ideas lives on, ever changing the world in which we live.
And who's to stay that this revolutionary energy is not pulsing still through the rooms and terraces of the French café? Why, it may be woven into the very fibers of the café chairs themselves, waiting for the right moment to unleash some magical new thought or idea or dream.
So if you should ever decide to purchase these café chairs for your own terrace or dining room, let this be a warning: be careful who you allow to sit in them.
Gregory Kerwin was born in the United States but raised in his grandmother's houses in Paris and Southern France, so it seems only natural that when he opened his first shop in Manhattan's Soho in 1983, he would bring with him a touch of Parisian style. This same dedication to French handcraftsmanship is reflected today in his New York Design Center Showroom at 200 Lexington Avenue in New York City, which features hand forged French wrought iron along with the custom handcrafted French café chairs that have remained a hallmark of Parisian sidewalk cafes for the past hundred years. You can see these Parisian treasures at http://tkcollections.com/