By Terry Trucco
As one of New York’s oldest and most storied hotels, The Algonquin has long been catnip for wags and writers. For decades, nearly everyone associated with the place, from the Vicious Circle and beyond, has shared stories about the hotel and its history. Everyone, it seems, except Matilda, the Algonquin cat.
That has changed. In a new illustrated children’s book, aptly titled Matilda, the Algonquin Cat, the hotel’s resident blonde in fur tells all about the hotel she’s called home for most of her nine lives.
Like a feline Eloise, Matilda divulges the high points of her day — napping on a luggage cart, lapping up champagne, snoozing in a laundry basket, suggesting a night at the theater (“Cats,” naturally). In her spare time, she runs the place.
“Francine is the manager,” writes Matilda. “She is very funny. She thinks she is in charge.”
Matilda’s Boswell is Leslie Martini, a journalist from Marblehead, Massachusetts and a life-long Matilda fan. As a child growing up in Pittsburgh, Martini visited the Algonquin (and Matilda) during her family’s frequent trips New York. As Martini recalls, “My mom was obsessed with New York history and the history of the Algonquin, which she made sure we learned. But when I was little all I cared about was seeing the cat.”