and there, on posh Park Avenue in Manhattan, sits the grand and glorious Waldorf Astoria Hotel
and I went with 38 ladies, (from the Brandeis Womens Club in my development), in a chartered bus, for an "Art on Wheels" day.
and we come into a magnificently lit lobby with a stunning mosaic on the floor... The Wheel of Life by Louis Rigal
gorgeous plush carpets
and touches of the art deco period everywhere, including the elevator doors
and the ducts and A/C units finished off with beautiful grillwork
The Waldorf wasn't always in its present location. It originally stood where the Empire State Building currently stands. We learned all about its history from our guide, Barbara.
when the 47-storey hotel was built it cost $42 million
Below is a picture of what the original structure looked like. It was actually demolished to make room for the Empire State Bldg.
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 higher.
When in opened in its current location in 1931, it became the tallest building in New York.
Conrad Hilton bought The Waldorf Astoria in 1949. During her childhood Paris Hilton lived there with her family.
Every President since Herbet Hoover has stayed there at one time.
The presidential suite currently goes for $7000 a night. This one-of-a-kind suite is filled with items donated by past presidents - everything from Kennedy's rocking chair to Regan's gold oval mirror. Can you imagine what it must be like to stay in that room?
we were treated to a delicious buffet lunch in the old Peacock Alley room and yes, we did have the famous Walford salad!
the famed, ornately carved, bronze Waldorf Astoria clock, set on an octagonal base is made from marble and mahogany and topped with a Statue of Liberty.
This clock weighs approximately two tons and stands nine feet tall. Around the eight sides of the base are likenesses of Cleveland, Harrison, Washington, Grant, Lincoln, Franklin, Jackson, and Queen Victoria. Under these are bronze plaques depicting various sports and scenes. Westminster chimes ring on the quarter hour.”
The 2002 film Maid in Manhattan takes place at the Waldorf-Astoria, but the hotel is renamed The Beresford Hotel in the movie.
Gangsters Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and Charles "Lucky" Luciano once lived in the Waldorf-Astoria.
Cole Porter's Steinway & Sons grand piano is here too. Cole Porter and Linda Lee 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 one of the large ballrooms the walls are covered in velvet. We were unable to get into the Grand Ballroom...it was being used that day.... but, it is four storeys high and several smaller ballrooms are adjoined to it. In all, the hotel's ballrooms could accomodate 6,000 people.
the ladies room off the lobby is very fashionable
a hallway in the tower wing
and a view from the 38th floor
and the scaffolding on St. Patricks cathedral can be seen as well
we even got to meet one of the chefs, but, health laws now prohibit you from touring their humongous kitchens.
he told us about the "Bee Room" where 360,000 honey bees 'live' and produce approximately 125 pounds of "Top of the Waldorf" rooftop honey just for their guests. You can't buy it but you can see it firsthand if you CLICK HERE.
The queen bee isn't the only one to visit the Waldorf...
and here's a little trivia: In 1954, Israeli statesman and archaeologist Yigael Yadin met secretly with the Syrian 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.
it was a fantastic day, with very nice ladies, and another bus ride !!