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Park Avenue foyer (in 1988)
The hotel's name with the double hyphen on the awning over the Park
The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is a famous luxury
hotel in New York. It has been housed in two historic landmark
buildings in New
York City. The first, designed by architect Henry J. Hardenbergh, was on the Fifth
Avenue site of the Empire State Building. The
present building at 301 Park Avenue in Manhattan is a 47 story,
625 ft. (191 m) Art Deco landmark, designed by architects Schultze
and Weaver and dating from 1931. The Waldorf Astoria New York
is a member of Hilton's Luxury and Lifestyle Brands along with The Waldorf=Astoria
Collection, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Denizen Hotels. The
Waldorf Astoria brand consists of the Waldorf Astoria in New York
and The Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
The hotel is now branded as the
Waldorf=Astoria, with a double hyphen, but originally a single
hyphen was employed between "Waldorf" and "Astoria," as recalled by
a popular expression and song, "Meet Me at the Hyphen".
The modern hotel has three American and classic
European restaurants, and a beauty parlor located off the main
lobby. Several boutiques surround the lobby. A "hotel within a
hotel" in its upper section is known as The Waldorf
Towers operated by Conrad Hotels & Resorts.
The hotel has its own railway platform as part of Grand
Central Terminal, used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adlai
Stevenson, and Douglas MacArthur, among others. An
elevator large enough for Franklin D. Roosevelt's
automobile provides access to the platform.
Its name is ultimately derived from Walldorf in Germany and the prominent
family, that originated there.
The Waldorf-Astoria at the original location, Fifth Avenue and
Thirty-Fourth Street. Charcoal and pastel on brown paper by Joseph Pennell
Historical postcard of the Waldorf=Astoria at its second location,
Park Avenue (around 1930-1940)
An Astor family
feud contributed to the events
which led to the construction of the original Waldorf-Astoria on Fifth Avenue.
It started as two hotels: one owned by William Waldorf
Astor, whose 13-story Waldorf Hotel was opened in 1893 and the
other owned by his cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, called the
Astoria Hotel and opened four years later in 1897, four stories
William Astor, motivated in part by a dispute with his aunt, Caroline Webster
Schermerhorn Astor, built the original Waldorf Hotel next door
to her house, on the site of his father's mansion and today's Empire
State Building. The hotel was built to the specifications of
founding proprietor George Boldt; he and his wife Louise had
become known as the owners and operators of the Bellevue, an elite
boutique hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Broad
Street, subsequently expanded and renamed the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. Boldt continued
to own the Bellevue (and, later, the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel) even
after his relationship with the Astors blossomed.
William Astor's construction of a hotel next to his aunt's house
worsened his feud with her, but, with Boldt's help, John Astor
persuaded his aunt to move uptown. John Astor then built the
Astoria Hotel and leased it to Boldt. Initially foreseen as two
separate entities, Boldt had planned the new structure so it could
be connected to the old by means that became known as Peacock
Alley. The combined Waldorf-Astoria became the largest hotel in the
world at the time,
while maintaining the original Waldorf's high standards.
The Waldorf-Astoria is historically significant for transforming
the contemporary hotel, then a facility for transients, into a
social center of the city as well as a prestigious destination for
visitors and a part of popular culture. The
Waldorf-Astoria was influential in advancing the status of women,
who were admitted singly without escorts. Founding proprietor, George C. Boldt, became wealthy and
prominent internationally, if not so much a popular celebrity as
his famous employee, Oscar Tschirky, "Oscar of the Waldorf."
Boldt built one of American's most ambitious houses, Boldt Castle, on one
of the Thousand Islands. George Boldt's wife,
Louise Kehrer Boldt, was influential in evolving the idea of the
grand urban hotel as a social center, particularly in making it
appealing to women as a venue for social events.
When the new skyscraper Waldorf-Astoria was built on Park
Avenue, under the guidance of Lucius Boomer, the manager of the
old Waldorf, a cast of furnishers and decorators with good
reputations was assembled, to give it a grand yet domestic
retired to Florida after the
old Waldorf Astoria was demolished, but he had retained exclusive
rights to use the name "Waldorf-Astoria", which he transferred to
the new hotel. He died in an airplane crash in 1947, and Conrad Hilton
bought the Waldorf Astoria in 1949.
In 2006, Hilton
Hotels announced plans to build a second Waldorf-Astoria near
Walt Disney World in Florida,
and in 2007, plans were announced that another Waldorf-Astoria will
be built in Beverly Hills, where Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire
Boulevard cross. A combination hotel and condominium Waldorf-Astoria
Hotel and Residence Tower has been announced by third parties
to be developed for Hilton in Chicago.
On August 24, 2007, Dimension Development Company of Natchitoches, Louisiana
announced the purchase of the New Orleans Fairmont Hotel and plans
to convert the hotel into a Waldorf-Astoria. It was not immediately
known whether the name would be changed to Waldorf Astoria or
whether it would revert to its former name, The Roosevelt, with the
tagline, a Waldorf-Astoria Collection Hotel. In the 1940s, '50s and
'60s, The Roosevelt was home to the World Famous "Blue Room" which
brought—for the first time—the best Hollywood and Las Vegas talent
to the Deep South on a
Beverly Hills Waldorf
In November 2008, a referendum in Beverly Hills,
California was voted on to determine whether developer Oasis West
Realty LLC will be allowed to expand the nine-acre site of the
Beverly Hilton Hotel, recently owned by the late Merv Griffin, at the
intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. Expansion
plans include removing some buildings and adding an 8-story condo,
a Waldorf=Astoria named 12-story hotel, and another 18-story condo
tower. The Beverly Hills City Council had approved the $500 million
project by a 3-2 vote. Local resident opponents led by a group
called Citizens Right to Decide Committee gathered
enough signatures to place the referendum on the November 4, 2008,
ballot with the argument "It's Just Too Big." Los Angeles County
election officials reported a week after the vote that local
Measure H was losing by 68 votes, with provisional ballots yet to
be counted. On December 2, 2008, yes on H passed by 129 votes. Yes:
7972. No: 7834.
- Hossein-Gholi Noori, an influential Qajar
politician was sent by Nasser al-Din
Shah Qajar to the United States
of America during the time of President Grover
Cleveland to serve as Iran's first ambassador to the U.S. He
resided in the first Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. During his stay at the
hotel, he ordered a slaughter of a sheep from the balcony of his penthouse
suite for the Eid
al-Adha, a religious festival celebrated by Muslims. For his
undiplomatic behaviour, he was summoned to the United States Department
of State and then was recalled to Iran for poor representation
of the Iranian people.
- Postmaster General James Farley occupied
two adjoining suites in the Waldorf-Astoria Towers during his
tenure as the Chairman of the Board of Coca-Cola's International
division from 1940 until his death in 1976, arguably one of the
landmarks longest housed tenants.
- During the 1950s and early 1960s, former U.S. president Herbert Hoover
and retired U.S. General Douglas MacArthur lived in suites on
different floors of the hotel. A plaque affixed to the wall on the
49th Street side commemorates this. There is also a recreation of
one of the living room of Hoover's Waldorf-Astoria suite in the Herbert
Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.
- Around the time of World War I, inventor Nikola Tesla lived in
the earlier Waldorf-Astoria.
- The Duke of
Windsor and Duchess of
Windsor maintained an apartment at the Waldorf Towers for many
- Gangsters Frank Costello, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and Charles "Lucky" Luciano (room 39c) once
lived in the Waldorf-Astoria.
- Bertie Charles Forbes, Scottish
immigrant and founder of Forbes Magazine,
became a regular at the Waldorf-Astoria with his savings from
writing for Hearst in order to form the close
relationships with prominent businessmen needed to start his own
- Cole Porter and
Thomas had an apartment in the Waldorf Towers, where she died
in 1954. Porter's 1934 song "You're the Top," contains the lyric,
"You're the top, you're a Waldorf salad..."
- In the 1955, Marilyn Monroe stayed at the hotel, for
several months, but due to costs of trying to finance her
production company "Marilyn Monroe Productions", only being paid
$1,500 a week for her role in The Seven Year Itch and being
suspended from 20th Century Fox because of walking
out on Fox and refusing to star in a picture with Frank Sinatra
because she was not allowed to read the script, living at the hotel
became too costly and she had to move into a different hotel in New York City.
- The official residence of the United States' Permanent Representative to the United Nations is
located in the Waldorf Towers..
- The investigation into the sinking of the Titanic in
1912 was held at the Waldorf-Astoria. Coincidentally, John Jacob
Astor IV, who built the Astoria Hotel, which became part of the
Waldorf-Astoria, died on Titanic, and his seven month pregnant
second wife Madeline survived the sinking.
- On the evening of November 15, 1926, the National Broadcasting
Company broadcast its inaugural program from the grand ballroom of
the Waldorf-Astoria. Among the entertainers heard by radio
listeners was Will Rogers. The network became the Red Network on
January 1, 1927 when NBC launched its second network, designated
the Blue Network. It was sold in the early 1940s and became the
American Broadcasting Company.
- After a New York ticker-tape parade in his honor for winning
four Olympic gold medals, Jesse Owens had to ride the freight
elevator to attend a reception for him at the Waldorf-Astoria due
to its segregation policies.
- On June 21, 1948 a press conference at the hotel introduced the
- In 1954, Israeli statesman and archaeologist Yigael Yadin met
secretly with the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Mar Samuel in the
basement of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to negotiate the purchase of
four Dead Sea Scrolls for Israel. Yadin paid $250,000 for all four.
- From 1960 until 1978, Guy Lombardo and The Royal Canadians
televised their annual New Years Eve show
live (in the Eastern and Central time zones) from the Grand
- In 1985, the NBA held its first-ever draft lottery
between non-playoff teams at the Starlight Room. The lottery was
for the 1985 NBA
Draft in which Patrick Ewing was the consensus number
one pick. The New York Knicks wound up winning the
right to select Ewing, an occurrence that many feel was fixed in
New York's favor.
- The NASCAR Sprint
Cup end-of-season awards banquet was held at the
Waldorf-Astoria every year between 1981 and 2008, initially in the
Starlight Room, but since 1985 in the Grand Ballroom, except 2001
and 2002. A formal awards ceremony (not a banquet) was held in
those two years, with the 2002 awards ceremony being held at Hammerstein Ballroom, with the
pre-show banquet held at the Waldorf-Astoria. The Presidential
Suite was reserved for the Series Champion. In 2009, NASCAR moved
the event to the Wynn in Las Vegas.
- The Metropolitan Opera Guild holds its annual member lunch at
- The annual International Debutante
Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria is held to formally introduce young
high society women.
- On May 1, 2004, the Waldorf-Astoria was the
venue for the Grand Europe Ball, a
historic black-tie charitable affair co-chaired by Archduke Georg of Austria-Hungary which
celebrated the Enlargement of the
- The Bronx High School of
Science, Stuyvesant High School, Xaverian
High School and Syosset High School traditionally
hold their Senior Proms in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel. Regis High
School and Hunter College High School
in Manhattan and Pelham Memorial High School have also held their
prom in the Starlight Ballroom.
- Since 2006, Russian Children's Welfare Society (RCWS) hosts
black tie gala - the "Petroushka Ball" - to raise funds to support
orphaned and disabled children in Russia.
- New York University holds its annual International Hospitality
Industry Conference, with the Preston Robert Tisch Center for
Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, at this hotel. It is
the largest-known annual gathering of hotel management
professionals and hospitality business leaders.
- Bette Midler's
2nd Annual Hulaween Gala to benefit the New York Restoration
Project was held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on October 31 with
Estefan as the headliner, and other acts such as Kathy Griffin and
- St. John's University
holds its annual President's Dinner in the grand ballroom.
References in popular
salad — a salad consisting of apple, walnuts, celery, and mayonnaise or a mayonnaise-based dressing —
was first created in 1896 at the Waldorf in New York by Oscar Tschirky,
who was the maître d'hôtel, and
the same salad was parodied in the British comedy Fawlty Towers.
Rogers headlined an all star ensemble cast in the 1945 movie Week-End at the
- Cole Porter's Steinway
grand piano is in the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria.
- In the 1970 movie The Out-of-Towners,
Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis make
their way to the Waldorf-Astoria on foot past tons of garbage in a
torrential downpour, to discover their reservation - guaranteed for
a 10:00pm arrival - has been given away, and the hotel - like every
other one in the city - is booked to capacity due to the
- In the 1988 movie Coming To
America the king of Zamunda (played by James Earl
Jones) and his family stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria; one joke
in the movie showed the King "punishing" Semi, the prince's
servant, by ordering him to confine himself to the hotel's royal
- The 1978 musical revue Ain't Misbehavin'
features the song Lounging at the Waldorf, about the
hotel's past as a whites-only club and hotel for high society.
- In the 1992 movie Scent of a Woman, Lt. Col. Frank
Slade (Al Pacino) and
his traveling companion Charles Simms (Chris O'Donnell) stayed at the
- In the 2001 film Serendipity, a number of scenes
take place between the two main characters in the
- In the 2002 movie Hart's War one of the characters makes
the sarcasm of comparing the POW camp to the Waldorf Astoria
- Statler and Waldorf, a pair of Muppet characters, are
named after posh New York City hotels, the Statler Hotel (now Hotel
Pennsylvania) and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Waldorf's wife,
Astoria, looks like Statler in drag.
- The 2002 film Maid in Manhattan takes place at
the Waldorf-Astoria, but the hotel is renamed The Beresford Hotel
in the movie.
- Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova exits out of the hotel
in the 2006 Nike
- The exterior of the hotel appears in the video game True
Crime: New York City.
- In the 2006 movie The Pink Panther, Beyoncé
Knowles' character Xania stays in the hotel during her trip to
- In Neal
Shusterman's novel Everlost, the Waldorf=Astoria is a
"Forever Place," which Allie stops by, only to leave quickly
because the desertedness of it gives her the creeps.
- In one episode of Johnny Bravo, Johnny decided to spend a
night at the Waldorf-Histeria without paying because he thought
time in world suddenly stood still and that no one would mind
whatever he does.
Hughes wrote a poem advertising the hotel in "Advertisement for
- In the tenth book in the Princess Diaries series, "Ten Out of
Ten", the senior prom takes place in the Waldorf Astoria ballroom
which Mia attends with J.P. and where a number of plot-changing
events take place that finally lead to a dramatic but happy
- In the Portuguese novel Codex 632, the Professor
Tomás Noronha stays in the Waldorf-Austoria Hotel during
his sojourn in New York.
- In the 2009 film remake of The Taking of
Pelham 123, Garber (played by Denzel Washington) follows the train
hijackers through the emergency exit underneath the Waldorf-Astoria
in his attempt to pursue these men before they escape with the
- In the AMC network television series Mad Men, hotelier Conrad Hilton meets with advertising
executive Don Draper
at the Waldorf for a late-night drink in a season 3 episode.
- In 1978 a french kid named Jean Pierre jumped from the 15th
floor thinking he was Superman. French canadian music composer Luc Plamondon wrote
a song about this event, later in 1991 Celine Dion sung the song Le fils de
Superman (Superman´s son) in her album Dion
chante Plamondon and a live version of this song can be also
found in her 1994 album Celine Dion a
Waldorf from Gossip
rail platform forever closed". NewYorkology. 2006-02-07. http://www.newyorkology.com/archives/2006/02/waldorfastorias.php. Retrieved
- ^ a
"Guard shot during robbery
attempt at Waldorf-Astoria". CNN. 2008-11-16. http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/11/15/waldorf.shooting.ap/index.html?iref=mpstoryview.
The list gives a repertory of eminent firms working in New
York: "Among those who contributed to its solution are: Sir Charles Allom of
White, Allom & Co., London and New York; L. Alavoine & Co.,
of Paris and New York; Arthur S. Vernay, Inc., New York; Barton,
Price and Willson, Inc., New York; Jacques Bodart, Inc., Paris and
New York; Mr. R. T. H. Halsey, Maison Jansen, Paris; Francis
Lenygon, of Lenygon & Morant, London and New York; Nordiska
Kompaniet of Stockholm, Sweden; W. & J. Sloane, New York; Mrs.
Charles H. Sabin, consultant decorator of transient section of the
hotel; Schmieg, Hungate & Kotzian, New York, Nathan Straus
& Sons, New York, and A. Rutledge-Smith, general consulting
decorator of the Hotel Corporation." ("A New Waldorf Against The
The “New” Waldorf-Astoria
Hotel (1931), by Stanley Turkel
From Howard Baskerville to
Obama: An observation of 150 years of Iran-U.S. Relations (alarabiya - in Persian language)
"United States Mission to the
United Nations" "Protocol supports the Permanent Representative
and USUN Ambassadors by planning, managing and executing events at
the Mission, the residence of the Permanent Representative at the
Waldorf Astoria Towers,..."
As quoted in "Owens pierced a myth" by Larry Schwartz in ESPN
"Senior Class of 2008 News:
Prom Information". The Bronx High School of
Science. http://www.bxscience.edu/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=57476&id=14. Retrieved
Salamone, Gina (2008-05-28). "The $1,000 prom night: New
Yorkers dropping average of $1K on big event". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/2008/03/25/2008-03-25_the_1000_prom_night_new_yorkers_dropping.html?print=1&page=all. Retrieved
Russian Children's Welfare
NYU International Hospitality
Industry Investment Conference, New York University.
New York Holidays
External links and