Waldorf Astoria Cocktails, New York 1930s
The iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel started life as two hotels, the Waldorf opening in 1893 on New York’s Fifth Avenue and the Astoria opening in an adjacent site in 1897. Both were luxury hotels built by millionaire developer William Waldorf Astor, who came from a prominent German-American family. At first people thought the Waldorf, with its high number of bathrooms for guests and opulent public rooms, would fail because its level of luxury was unprecedented. However, it was patronized by wealthy New York’s wealthy First Families and distinguished overseas visitors. The opulent Astoria, which had electric light and room service, was also a hit and did its bit for advancing the cause of women’s rights by admitting single women without escorts. One of the founding proprietors George Boldt coined the term “the guest is always right.” Both properties were connected by an alley and subsequently became known as the Waldorf-Astoria, the largest hotel in the world at that time. By the 1920s, the hotel was becoming dated and faced competition from new properties such as the St Regis and the Savoy-Plaza Hotel. The Astor family sold it and a new Waldorf Astoria, minus the hyphen, opened on Park Avenue between 49th and 50th streets in 1931. Again, the new hotel flourished and became known for its lavish dinners and banquets, its nightclub called the Starlight Roof, and as a preferred place for business and political conferences. Celebrities from Charlie Chaplin to Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra stayed in its suites and it was patronized by Royalty and important politicians from around the world. The hotel continued its commitment to gender equality by becoming the first in the United States to employ female chefs. This charming cocktail menu is from the 1930's. A champagne cocktail costs $1 – expensive but then again, it was being served in five-star surroundings.
The delightful vignettes show elegant people drinking Martinis, Blue Moons, Old Fashioneds, Side Cars, Presidente and Manhattan cocktails. There’s a nod to the number of politicians who stayed here. with the Presidente cocktail. And a trio of crooners pay tribute to Manhattan – the city and the cocktail.
The Waldorf Astoria was bought in 2014 by a Chinese insurance company for a record $1.95 billion and is currently closed and undergoing renovation.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.
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