ESU New York City Branch

Message from the New York Branch

Dear Fellow New York Branch Members,

Our fall season was quite eventful, characterized by some unexpected and welcome events. These included two lectures on Art Deco architecture in Great Britain and Australia in conjunction with the Art Deco Society of New York, a cabaret evening at the Algonquin with Steve Ross organized by Elizabeth Sharland Jones, an Amateur Comedy Club performance of Noises Off! and a related reception.  Before November is over, we will have had a lively evening recording a podcast talk for national distribution featuring Randy Cohen and Peter Gilliver, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary

As the season draws to an end, and as has been our custom, we are now gearing ups for our end-of-year Yuletide Party.  Again this year, we are collaborating with The British Schools & Universities Club, and the Yuletide Party will take place here at the English-Speaking Union, 144 East 39th Street.  The festivities begin at 6:00pm and feature an open bar, hors d'oeuvres, buffet dinner, caroling, a panto, and a "white elephant" gift exchange.  We hope to see you then! 

Read Full Message

News And Events

An Evening With Anton Chekhov

Wednesday, May 15 - 6:00 to 10:30 PM

The Amateur Comedy Club's spring production, features two one-acts and one monologue of three chestnut farces.  ACC has secured rights for the latest 1993 updated translations of the one-acts The Marriage Proposal and The Boor (also known as The Bear for some quirky reason), providing the actors with the most current and pithy jib jab bon mots. Smoking Is Bad For You: A Monologue, a husband's lament prompted by his "thoughtful wife," was penned in 1889 in ink. Where is Chekhov's gun?  You'll need to book now to find out!

We will gather for the reception between 6:00 and 6:30 pm at the ESU and walk over as a group to the
 Amateur Comedy Club at 7:15 pm for an 8:00 pm curtain.

$15 for ESU Members     $20 for Non-members

Register by mail using this form or online at this link


Read Full Story


Art Deco Chicago: Designing Modern America

Join The English-Speaking Union and ADSNY for an engaging illustrated talk that will highlight Chicago's role in bringing revolutionary modern design to the American marketplace.  Focusing on the critical period from the 1930s to the 1950s, Bruegmann explores issues of design and aesthetics within the larger social, economic, and cultural context of the period. His talk discusses the ways in which the city's industries, advertising firms, and mail order companies advanced modern design on the local, regional, and national levels. In addition to seeing how stunning Art Deco towers set trends for skyscrapers throughout the country, highlights of this presentation include iconic decorative arts and industrial designs for products such as Schwinn bicycles, beautiful Deco radios by Motorola, streamlined coffee makers from Sunbeam, an entire universe of products from Sears and Montgomery Ward…and more!

Click here to register online or download the paper registration form here. 


Read Full Story


Dana Ivey

Person Place Thing is an interview show hosted by Randy Cohen based on the idea that people are particularly engaging when they speak, not directly about themselves, but about something they care about.  Cohen's guests talk about one person, one place, and one thing that are important to them. The result: surprising stories from great speakers. This installment of Person Place Thing will be a conversation with Dana Ivey. It will be recorded and, about six weeks later, broadcast across Northeast Public Radio, a 23 station regional network, and made available as a podcast on

Register online here, or download the paper form to mail in your registration. 


Read Full Story


Luytens the Great

Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, OM, was one of the greatest of British architects known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era. A boy genius, he began as an architect of lyrical country houses, before discovering the High Game of Classicism.  His was a dazzling career which produced, among numerous other works, two great symbols of the national spirit: the Cenotaph in Whitehall, the memorial that became the focus of Britain's grief after the First World War, and the Viceroy's House in New Delhi, a palace bigger than Versailles symbolising British rule in India.  This lecture will celebrate Lutyens's achievement on the 150thanniversary of his birth and compare his place in architectural history to that of Wren, Vanbrugh, Adam and Soane.  Was Lutyens the greatest of all?  The architectural historian Gavin Stamp described him as "surely the greatest British architect of the twentieth (or of any other) century." 


Read Full Story


Ciphers, Secrets, and Spies in the Elizabethan Age

The Elizabethan era (1558-1603) is often depicted as the "Golden Age" in England's history—an era of great exploration and military victories in which Queen Elizabeth I is represented in sumptuous clothing and jewels.  But the reality, which included religious conflicts that tore families apart, political challenge to Elizabeth's authority, high levels of poverty and crime, and vulnerability to foreign invasion, was far grimmer.  The Queen was considered a Protestant heretic by the rulers of Europe, and numerous plots were hatched to dethrone her in favor of Catholic Mary Queen of Scots. Elizabeth's closest courtiers. notably William Cecil (1st Baron Burghley) and Francis Walsingham—the "Spymaster"—attempted to protect her. Walsingham's network of clandestine agents unearthed a series of threats, including one led by an invasion of priests trained abroad and sent to England and hidden in "priest-holes" by Catholic families in places as Baddesly Clinton and Coughton Court in Warwickshire to prepare for a Catholic rebellion.


Read Full Story


The English-Speaking Union

New York City Branch

New York City Branch Landmark Photo

Welcome to the ESU

The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

To find out more about our programs click here.