On a visit to the Waldorf=Astoria, we saw a notice for history tours of the hotel offered every Thursday and Saturday morning at 11:30.
Not many hotels boast sufficient history or chutzpah to warrant a tour priced at $50 a person (they do throw in lunch). Besides, the Waldorf devotes four bulging lobby display cases to memorabilia, from place settings for royal dinners to photos of illustrious guests, like Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Bruce Springsteen. What more could there possibly be?
We decided to find out. Besides, we’d always wondered why an equal sign connects the words Waldorf and Astoria.
On a recent Saturday morning, we joined the small group congregated around the main lobby’s Clock Tower, an enormous bronze crowned by a scaled down Statue of Liberty. Queen Victoria commissioned this elaborate concoction for the infamous Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 – remember The Devil in the White City? — a pertinent year because that’s when the original Waldorf Hotel was built. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. (more…)