Tag Archives: mah jongg


Perhaps the Mah Jongg craze sometimes goes a bit too far…my wonderful friend Charlotte sent the following photo to me from the June issue of Hamptons MagazineJoanna mahjong set, Ralph Lauren ($4,495). 31–33 Main St., East Hampton, 631-324-1222; 41 Jobs Lane, Southampton, 631-287-6953. Bellamy clover tall vase ($350) and clamshell bowl ($345), AERIN. 83 Main St., Southampton, 631-353-3773

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The other day I told you how my dear friend Jeri was out and about scouting Mah Jongg-related things in NYC for this blog. On a recent visit to the Museum of the City of New York she came across an exhibit of Carrie Stettheimer’s famous dollhouse. As the museum notes, “one of the Museum’s most popular artifacts, the dollhouse of Carrie Walter Stettheimer (1869-1944) weaves together the fashion and style of New York’s Gilded Age in miniature form. Stettheimer worked on the 12-room dollhouse for nearly two decades, creating many of the furnishings and decorations by hand.”

So, why am I blogging about a dollhouse…well, among the many rooms is the Library, which features a beautiful Mah Jongg table displaying a miniature Mah Jongg set, citing that the game is “one of the most fashionable games of the 1920s” 

Enjoy this photo and, if you are in NYC, be sure to visit the Museum of the City of New York located at 1220 5th Ave at103rd Street to see this incredible dollhouse for yourself. 


Mah Jongg really is everywhere! My dear friend Jeri has been scouting NYC for me and sending photos of evidence that Mah Jongg has infiltrated every aspect of daily life! As she passed a lingerie store on Lexington Avenue and 64th Street, she came across this bag in their window…I did a little research myself and found out that the store is called Lingerie on Lex at 831 Lexington Avenue (between 63rd and 64th Street) in NYC. I called and spoke with the absolute loveliest lady, Melissa, and she told me all about this darling zippered pouch. It is mesh with raised “leatherette” letters and sells for $25. It is 7″ x 9″. Melissa and her sister grew up listening to their mother play Mah Jongg and became Mah Jongg players and collectors themselves. When Melissa saw this pouch she thought it would be great to hold MJ card, coins, etc. Melissa is such a doll and, if you live in NYC, I hope you will patronize her store. And there is a sale going on right now!

Melissa has two of these bags in stock if you are interested and she told me that she can reorder it if she sells out. If you are out of town or can’t get over there to buy this adorable bag, you can call her at (212) 755-3312.

Much thanks to Jeri and Melissa!

If you see any evidence of Mah Jongg in your neighborhoods, take a photo and send it to me and I will post it!


I’ve received this message from a reader of this blog. I’d love to hear how your Mah Jongg group deals with this issue. My group doesn’t pay for wall games but I think many groups do. So, let me know your thoughts.

I have two groups that I play with and love them both for different reasons.  I have been playing with my original group for over 5 years, but the other for only a year (they have been playing together for over 5 years, almost 50 years each individually!). One of their table rules is putting up a quarter for a wall game.  However, we disagree on how this should work when playing with more than 4 people.  They say the person coming in pays the quarter because they are the one who has a chance to win it.  I say the person who played the wall game pays it because it is in lieu of the (minimal) quarter they would have paid had someone won.  I can see it both ways, but it still bothers me a bit each time.  It’s only a quarter and I am a newer player so I go along with it.  I am wondering how other groups deal with this issue.  I’m sure there are some great stories about this!  Thanks for listening/commenting.


The wonderful Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American Style Mah Jongg, offers a Q&A in her monthly newsletter. This month there were a number of very interesting questions. Here are a couple of them with more to follow in a day or two. I’d love to hear your comments!

Q. Someone who winters in Arizona said that the white dragon should be called “white” during play. She got this instruction from a person who runs tournaments in Arizona. Is this now correct for all tournaments?

A. We call the white dragon “Soap.”  The NMJL has called it “soap” for many decades.  It’s common in Canada to name it “white.” Either name is acceptable in most tournaments. However, if a tournament Host states they want it named “white,” then you should abide by the Host’s rules.

Q. I don’t want to build walls, and I don’t want to throw the dice to break the walls.  Too many additional things we have to do.  Why? 

A. We just love these kinds of questions.  How about like what Mom used to say, “Because I said so.”  In this case….’because the NMJL said so.’  It’s the rule. However, here is a wonderful response…on Facebook,  “This is a game of ceremony, rules and etiquette. Building the wall is part of the ceremony. I cannot imagine forgoing this in the traditional four person game.”  Moreover, breaking the wall arbitrarily by the throw of the dice is a method to prevent stacking East’s wall with Jokers; to prevent cheating.  This process is used throughout the Mah Jongg playing world.

Does your group build walls and throw the dice to know where to break the wall? I recently played with a woman whose group always breaks the wall at 8. They never throw the dice. I personally like the rituals and ceremonies of the game and would not want to give up any of them. Also, as Gladys pointed out, throwing the dice to determine where to break the wall is a definite method to prevent any cheating. Let me know your thoughts…


I received an email today from my dear friend J. With the email came the photo below and an explanation. J has been playing Mah Jongg for the past few months with a very experienced and fun group of women who have a $30 pie and with the values on the card doubled up to the nearest quarter. While cleaning out her closet, and the purses inside, she came across her most recent winnings. WOW!!! Check out all of her winning coins and bills!And who says that Mah Jongg is a waste of time?!!!

But there is more to this story…just to show you that J is into the game not for the money (even though that is always an additional benefit) but for the friendship that we all enjoy when we play. She is now also in a group with a $4.00 pie. This week she won $2.00 and is as proud of those winnings as she is with all of the money in the photo because the people in this group are so special. Let me say it again…Mah Jongg people are the best!

Just remember…And the most important thing to remember: