Imagine Edward Gorey in Fur Coat and Sneakers, Nightly, at NYCB

I met this writer, A.N. Devers, at a party last week, and when she enthused about a piece she wrote recently for the Paris Review about a favorite writer of hers, the late Edward Gorey (in photo above, from Squidoo) and his fur coat collection, I made a mental note to find it on the web. I’d forgotten, but just remembered to look for it this morning. It’s a sweet piece about her attending a recent auction of his furs where she was determined to hold her own amongst the seriously seasoned bidders and, despite her comparably meager bank account, get herself a coat.

She also mentions that Gorey (who was best known as an illustrator) often attended New York City Ballet – decked out in fur coat and Converse sneakers. This was during the 70s, when, according to some quick internet research I did, he was well known at the ballet, was quite the eccentric, and knew Balanchine. He even wrote and illustrated a book about NYCB, The Lavender Leotard.

(top image from the Winger, bottom two from StoryCulture)

Actually, he wrote a couple books about the ballet.

He also created a poster:

(image from Chisholm online gallery)

He supposedly so loved NYCB he was there every night. He must have been quite the figure in those full-length furs and tennis shoes. Kind of sounds like something out of a Jonathan Ames novel. But this was all in the 70s. Sometimes I really feel like I’m in NYC in the wrong era

Anyway, just found all this interesting and thought I’d share. Is there anyone here who remembers him?


  1. One of my most treasured possessions is an edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, illustrated by Edward Gorey.
    Gorey also designed a theatre production of Dracula.
    (And his real name was “Gorey”! It’s too good.)
    “The Gilded Bat” is one of my fave books too (about the life of a ballet dancer). I think it’s great that one of the beneficiaries in his will was the Bat Conservation Foundation.

    Sanjoy Roy

    • Thank you for commenting, Sanjoy!
      Am really going to have to get my hands on a copy of The Gilded Bat – on both of his ballet books. I imagine that Dracula production must have been fantastic too. Yeah, it is pretty hilarious that his actual name was Gorey!

  2. Amy Reusch Chibeau

    I understand Gorey made it a point even to watch every single Nutcracker performance in a season… that adds an extra dimension to “he was there every night”!

  3. Allegra Kent included some lovely anecdotes about Gorey in her memoir.

  4. I bought a box of Christmas cards last week by Edward Gorey called “Robot Child and Alligator…I looked him up and now will be collecting all things Gorey! My late husband was Al Plank a wonderful classical/jazz pianist…any relation?
    Thanx, Rita Plank

    • Oh, so fun that you found this blog by looking up Gorey! I didn’t know much about him until my friend introduced me to him via her little “coat obsession”! No, unfortunately I don’t think I am related to your late husband. At least not that I know of; you never know… Thank you for commenting, Rita!

  5. Tonya, another great post. I remember walking under that poster on my way to class at S.A.B. every day my first year in New York. I assumed it was done by some marketing/advertising firm hired by the company. No wonder it became so iconic, it was done with such love!

    Science hasn’t invented time travel, maybe I can help you re-kindle some of taht seventies magic.



  6. One other thing. Even back then, no one did third position! Is it even still taught? I learned it my first year of ballet, then that was it. I never did it once, in class, or in any piece I performed.

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