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THE UNOFFICIAL PALACE
From its inception, the Waldorf Astoria was a true palace in the city. Cultural figures, political leaders, musicians, and royalty gathered in its grand spaces and entertained in its opulent suites. The Waldorf Astoria’s legendary service set the standard for American hospitality.
1893 — 1929
THE CREATION OF A LEGEND
The original Waldorf Hotel was built at 33rd Street and Fifth Avenue in 1893 by William Waldorf Astor. Four years later, John Jacob Astor IV, William’s cousin and familial rival, built an even taller hotel next door in an act of one-upmanship. The cousins finally agreed to a truce and the two buildings were connected through a 300 foot marble corridor known as Peacock Alley. The Waldorf-Astoria was born.
1930 — 1934
THE GRAND RE-OPENING
In 1931, the Waldorf Astoria re-opened in its current Park Avenue location, becoming the largest and tallest hotel in the world. Designed in the Art Deco style, it welcomed presidents, royals, movie stars, and cultural luminaries into its grand public spaces and palatial suites.
ROOM SERVICE, DAY AND NIGHT
The Waldorf Astoria set a list of global precedents: the first hotel to have electricity on every floor, the first to have en suite baths, and the first to offer 24-hour room service. A rose topped each room service order that went to The Towers.
Cole Porter moved to The Towers in 1934 and kept his residence at the Waldorf Astoria until his death in 1964. The hotel’s managers gifted him a Steinway piano that he nicknamed “High Society” and on which he composed iconic songs such as “Anything Goes.” He called his ten-room, 33rd floor suite “a dream of beauty.”
1964 — ONWARDS
AN AMERICAN ICON
The Waldorf Astoria is ensconced in American culture. Over the decades leading cultural figures performed, resided, or hosted parties here such as Andy Warhol, Tina Turner, and Mick Jagger. Ella Fitzgerald regularly sang in the Starlight Roof ballroom, and in later years, galas honoring the world’s most important people were fixtures of the social calendar.