As anyone who hasn’t been in solitary confinement this week knows, February 9 marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first visit to the U.S.
Specifically, it heralds their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, an event watched by 73 million people including the 728 in the studio audience.
Not surprisingly, there are hotel connections.
Their first stop on February 7 was The Plaza, where the band checked into the Presidential Suites (rooms 1209 through 1216) overlooking West 58th Street. The unsuspecting management was astonished to learn the identity of the “English businessmen” who had reserved the rooms.
Chaos ensued as fans besieged the hotel. (On subsequent visits the group stayed at The Warwick.) A photo shoot in Central Park followed. MIA is George Harrison, who was fighting the flu. But he was back, guitar in hand, for the big show.
The historic TV moment – the group played five songs including “She Loves You,” “Till There Was You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” — took place at the 1927 Gothic Revival radio and television studio now known as The Ed Sullivan Theater, current home of Late Night with David Letterman, at 1697 Broadway between 53rd and 54th Streets. The band ducked out to Washington, D.C. for a gig at Washington Coliseum on February 11 but returned to New York and The Plaza the following day for two performances at Carnegie Hall, down the street from the hotel on 57th Street near Seventh Avenue.
For a look back, check out the terrific black-and-white photo essay posted by the Daily News.
One final hotel connection: the Sheraton New York Times Square hosted the group’s Abbey Road press conference. To commemorate, the bar has cooked up the Fab Four specialty cocktail, inspired by Strawberry Fields. Stop by – the hotel is steps from the Ed Sullivan Theater. Or try it at home (you know the soundtrack).
Fab Four Cocktail at Sheraton New York Times Square
1 ½ oz. Hendricks Gin
1 oz. St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
½ oz. Strawberry Schnapps
Splash Club Soda
Fresh Squeezed Lemon
Mix all ingredients and serve over ice in a highball glass.