Where Did The Queen Spend The Night When She Visited New York?

Queen Elizabeth II visited New York City three times during her 70-year reign, but she spent only one night at a New York City hotel. 

Her historic hotel stay occurred on October 21, 1957 during her first ever visit to the city. It should come as no surprise that the Queen and Prince Philip checked into the Waldorf Astoria, the mid-century, go-to hotel for presidents, potentates, popes and celebrities from A (Princess Astrid of Norway) to Z (Zsa Gabor). Read more

Farewell! Six Memorable NYC Hotels Closed Permanently By The Pandemic

The last 18 months have been a rough ride for New York City hotels. More than 30 percent of the city’s 705 properties shut down during the pandemic. And while dozens have reopened, it’s still anybody’s guess how many will ultimately return. What we do know is that at least 30 won’t be coming back, according to the Hotel Association of New York.

The hotels that checked out are a mixed bag of properties large and small, independents and chains, places you’ve never heard of and hotels so famous, so entrenched in New York City culture, that they seemed almost immortal. Not every shuttered hotel was a gem. But each provided employment for dozens of workers, paid taxes that supported the city, enlivened the neighborhood and extended hospitality, whether exemplary or less so, to some of the 66 million visitors who descend upon New York in a good year. And that doesn’t include the many locals checking in during a renovation, an altercation, a staycation or just after a long night.

With that, we offer our first batch of NYC hotel obituaries — six Covid casualties we couldn’t let disappear without a few words of appreciation. It won’t be our last. Read more

The Famous Waldorf Astoria Lobby Clock, Now Marking Time At The New-York Historical Society

On March 1, 2017, the Waldorf Astoria — the fabled “Host to the World” where room service, Eggs Benedict and Waldorf Salad were invented and where every president from Hoover to Obama spent the night — shut its massive doors for a gut renovation that was supposed to take two to three years.

We’re still awaiting the hotel’s reopening — and not holding our breath, because who wants to unveil a billion dollar renovation during a pandemic? 

But for Waldorf aficionados starved for a glimpse of Park Avenue’s Art Deco beauty, the New-York Historical Society offers a tantalizing teaser. Standing just past the check-in desk in an arched alcove is the Waldorf Astoria Lobby Clock, the 19th-century tour-de-force feast of walnut, mahogany, marble and copper that greeted hotel guests for over 85 years and was renowned as a popular interior landmark as in “Meet me by the clock.” Read more

Good-bye, Omni Berkshire Place NYC — The Hotel Where Rodgers & Hammerstein Hatched “Oklahoma!”

For a brief stretch, it was possible to score a ticket for the darkly sassy 2019 revival of Oklahoma! on Broadway and spend the night in the Rodgers & Hammerstein Suite at the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel, so named because the show’s creators agreed to collaborate on their game-changing musical over lunch at the hotel in 1942. Read more

Covid-19 Closing: So Long to the Maxwell — and the Very First W Hotel

The Maxwell has the distinction of being one of the first major New York City hotels to close permanently during the Coronavirus outbreak.

But to be fair, the hotel was teetering before the pandemic arrived. Read more

Show of Vintage Louis Vuitton Trunks Brings Time Travel to Sofitel New York Lobby

Call it the ultimate trunk show.

Stroll quickly through the lobby of the Sofitel New York, and you may think you’ve wandered into a Louis Vuitton showroom. But look closely at the array of travel trunks artfully parked atop side tables, tucked below the flower-filled console and stacked under a winding staircase, and it’s clear you won’t see these items circling on a baggage carousel.

The trunks are vintage Vuitton, the kind that sell for multiple thousands of dollars. A relatively common sight if you traveled First Class in the luxury liner/grand hotel days, they now show up mainly in stylish houses as eye-catching coffee tables, foyer consoles and foot-of-the-bed storage. And while these durable hard cases still look at home in a hotel, especially one that sports marble floors, wood paneling and French management, they’re a pop-up exhibition saluting “The Golden Age of Travel.” Read more

The New York Hotel You’ve Never Heard Of That Inspired Georgia O’Keeffe’s Skyscraper Paintings

On a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I chanced upon Georgia O’Keeffe’s panoramic painting from 1928 of the East River. A muted geometry of belching factory smokestacks and brackish water, it’s the elegant, if downbeat, work of an artist becoming visibly disillusioned with urban life, a good-bye-to-all-that rendering of the city she’d soon abandon.

But what really caught my attention was the title “East River from the Shelton Hotel.” Read more

Strolling Through The Waldorf Astoria on the Final Night of its 85-Year Run

When a hotel opens its doors for the first time, it stays open 24/7, 365 days a year. For 85 years and five months, the Waldorf Astoria did just that, treating the world to innovations like room service, Eggs Benedict and Waldorf salad without ever locking its massive doors.

Read more

Celebrating the Iconic Line Art of Al Hirschfeld At The New-York Historical Society — And the Algonquin Hotel

Those who think in black and white are buzzing about the newly opened The Hirschfeld Century: The Art of Al Hirschfeld at the New-York Historical Society. During his jaw-dropping 75 years as a New York Times linesman, Hirschfeld’s inimitable renderings captured the essence of his boldface subjects — actors, musicians, artists, dancers and other cultural denizens — with an added helping of wit. Not surprisingly, collectors clamored for his original drawings. A cool 100 of them are on view — a sly wink to the number of years he lived. Look for Ella Fitzgerald, Ringo Starr and Hirschfeld’s timeless self-portrait from 1985 for starters. Read more

One More Tete-a-Tete For The Fabled Vicious Circle At The Algonquin Hotel

Al Hirschfeld was never a member of the Vicious Circle, the storied gathering of writers, actors and wags who traded lunchtime barbs around a round table at the Algonquin Hotel. But it’s easy to imagine he might have been.

He knew the group’s acid-tongued members personally, including critic Alexander Woolcott, playwright Gerald S. Kaufman, New Yorker editor Harold Ross and serial quipper Dorothy Parker. Read more