The Waldorf Astoria in New York

Monday, 1 May 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Hotels, New York City
Reading Time:  8 minutes

Park Avenue © Hennem08/cc-by-sa-3.0

Park Avenue © Hennem08/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Waldorf Astoria New York is a luxury hotel in Manhattan in New York City. The hotel has been housed in two historic landmark buildings in New York. The first, bearing the same name, was built in two stages, as the Waldorf Hotel and the Astor Hotel, which accounts for its dual name. That original site was situated on Astor family properties along Fifth Avenue, opened in 1893, and designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh. It was demolished in 1929 to make way for the construction of the Empire State Building. The present building, at 301 Park Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Midtown Manhattan, is a 47-story 190.5 m (625 ft) Art Deco landmark designed by architects Schultze and Weaver, which was completed in 1931. The current hotel was the world’s tallest hotel from 1931 until 1963, when it was surpassed by Moscow’s Hotel Ukraina by 7 metres (23 ft). An icon of glamour and luxury, the current Waldorf Astoria is one of the world’s most prestigious and best known hotels. Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts is a division of Hilton Hotels, and a portfolio of high-end properties around the world, now operate under the name, including New York.

The new building opened on October 1, 1931. The 47-story 190.5 m (625 ft) hotel was the tallest and largest hotel in the world, and remained so for a number of years. 1,585 cubic feet (44.9 m3) of black marble was imported from Belgium, 600 cubic feet (17 m³) of Brech Montalto and 260 cubic feet (7.4 m³) of Alps Green arrived from Italy, and some 300 antique mantles were brought in to furnish it. 200 railroad cars brought some 800,000 cubic feet (23,000 m³) of limestone for the building’s facing, 27,100 tons of steel for the skeleton superstructure, and 2,595,000 square feet (241,100 m²) of terra cotta and gypsum block. The towers are brick-faced, which led many to believe that the builders ran out of money. Peacock Alley, a 300 feet (91 m) long corridor lined with amber marble connects the two hotel buildings. Gilded, women of the times would enjoy walking along it and admiring themselves in the mirrors. In 1931 it was reported that as many as 36,000 people were walking down it on any given day. The Peacock Alley restaurant of the Waldorf took its name from the alley. Today, the Waldorf Astoria and Towers has a total of 1,413 hotel rooms as of 2014. In 2009, when it had 1,416 rooms, the main hotel had 1,235 single and double rooms and 208 mini suites, while the Waldorf Towers, from the 28th floor up to the 42nd, had 181 rooms, of which 115 were suites, with one to four bedrooms. Several of the luxury suites are named after celebrities who lived or stayed in them such as The Cole Porter Suite, The Royal Suite, named after the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the MacArthur Suite and the Churchill Suite. The most expensive room, the Presidential Suite, is designed with Georgian-style furniture to emulate that of the White House. It was the residence of Herbert Hoover from his retirement for over 30 years, and Frank Sinatra kept a suite at the Waldorf from 1979 until 1988. The hotel has three main restaurants, Peacock Alley, The Bull and Bear Steak House, and La Chine, a new Chinese restaurant that replaced Oscar’s Brasserie in late 2015. Sir Harry’s Bar, named after British explorer Sir Harry Johnston, is the home of the Rob Roy and the Bobbie Burns cocktails. The hotel had its own railway platform, Track 61, that was part of the New York City Subway and was connected to the Grand Central Terminal complex. The platform was used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, James Farley, Adlai Stevenson, and Douglas MacArthur, among others. The platform was also used for the exhibition of American Locomotive Company‘s new diesel locomotive in 1946. In 1948, Filene’s and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad also staged a fashion show on the platform. An elevator large enough for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s automobile provides access to the platform. However, it is rarely opened to the public.

Park Avenue Entrance © Hennem08/cc-by-sa-3.0 Lobby © flickr.com - Alan Light/cc-by-2.0 Park Avenue © Hennem08/cc-by-sa-3.0 The classic Waldorf Salad © Nillerdk/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Americasroof/cc-by-sa-2.5 Bull and Bear Bar © Jimdigriz/cc-by-3.0
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The classic Waldorf Salad © Nillerdk/cc-by-sa-3.0
From its inception, the Waldorf Astoria gained international renown for its lavish dinner parties and galas, often at the center of political and business conferences and fundraising schemes involving the rich and famous. Particularly after World War II it played a significant role in world politics and the Cold War, culminating in the controversial World Peace Conference of March 1949 at the hotel, in which Stalinism was widely denounced. Conrad Hilton acquired management rights to the hotel on October 12, 1949, and the Hilton Hotels Corporation finally bought the hotel outright in 1972. It underwent a $150 million renovation by Lee Jablin in the 1980s and early 1990s, and in October 2014 it was announced that the Anbang Insurance Group of China had purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York for US$1.95 billion, making it the most expensive hotel ever sold. On July 1, 2016, Anbang Insurance Group, the owner of the hotel, announced that it would convert some of the Waldorf’s hotel rooms into condominiums. Beginning in the spring of 2017, the hotel will be closed for three years while renovations are performed on the structure. During this time, the restaurants of the Waldorf Astoria will also be closed during the remodeling and will reopen in three years along with the hotel.

The Waldorf salad is a salad generally made of fresh apples, celery, grapes and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise, and usually served on a bed of lettuce as an appetizer or a light meal. The salad was first created between 1893 and 1896 at the Waldorf Hotel (the precursor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which came into being with the merger of the Waldorf with the adjacent Astoria Hotel, opened in 1897). Oscar Tschirky, who was the Waldorf’s maître d’hôtel and developed or inspired many of its signature dishes, is widely credited with creating the recipe.

Read more on Wikipedia Waldorf Astoria (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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