The Curious Case of the Photo in the Bathroom at Dudley’s New York

The decor of Dudley’s, a popular Australian-style restaurant in New York’s Lower East Side, is beautiful and makes clever, amusing use of some unusual spaces.

Take it’s WC, for example. It’s almost as small as those you find on commercial aircraft — it’s a tight wedge of space tucked under the narrow stairs leading to the basement.

Though small, there’s just enough space, for some decorative flourishes and artwork. In this case, a framed 1990 Associated Press photo of then Aussie primer minister Bob Hawke golfing with the first President Bush during an official visit to the U.S. Framed with the black-and-white image is the original A.P. caption and slug information (the photo was for use with a profile article on then U.S. Secretary of State James Baker).

It’s a curious choice for a washroom photograph. Is there a cheeky underlying statement being made by having a picture of these political figures mounted, literally, above a toilet?

In any case, it’s an amusing nuanced detail, a touch of Australian identity at a restaurant that on the surface doesn’t scream its Aussie roots. (Well, except perhaps when the bartenders speak and you hear their accents.)

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