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At The Plaza is a pictorial record and an anecdotal history of the world's most famous hotel: New York's Plaza. As a story, it traverses the breadth and scope of Gotham's high society during the American Century. As a photo collection, it's like no other, capturing the hotel's remarkable presence on the ever-changing New York scene. For almost one hundred years, The Plaza has mirrored the social history of Manhattan: its tastes in design, entertainment, restaurants and accommodations, as well as its adjustment to Prohibition, the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Cold War, women's rights, smokers' rights, animals' rights and British rock-and-roll. The first guests to sign the register-Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt-set the standard for the long procession of luminaries that followed: Mark Twain, Diamond Jim Brady, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Beatles, among many others. In At The Plaza, the hotel's official historian, Curtis Gathje, has compiled a tremendous collection of photographs and vignettes chronicling the colorful history of a building, an institution, and a city.
Das Grandhotel der Jahrhundertwende war Erlebnisort, Traumhaus und Medienereignis. Seine Geschichte bietet ein facettenreiches Gesellschaftsbild dieser Epoche. Ob als »Wunderding" oder »Existenzform der Heimatlosigkeit": Grandhotels standen vom Beginn der Hochmoderne um 1880 bis über den Ersten Weltkrieg hinaus im Zentrum des gesellschaftlichen Lebens der europäischen und amerikanischen Eliten. Hier trafen sich Mächtige und Aufsteiger, Kaufleute und Reisende, Literaten und Hochstapler. Schrittmacher der kosmopolitischen Hotelkultur waren New York, London und später auch Berlin. Eine wachsende Oberschicht suchte luxuriösen Prunk und verschwenderischen Konsum, geheimnisvolle Diskretion und öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit. Modernste Technik, rationelle Organisation und globaler Austausch machten das moderne Hotel als »Welt in der Stadt" erst möglich. Mit dem Luxusleben der Grandhotels zeichnet Habbo Knoch ein breites Panorama der weltstädtischen Geselligkeit um 1900 zwischen Fortschrittsglaube und Kulturkritik. Anschaulich vermittelt der Autor, wie sich im Grandhotel als Sinnbild der Moderne traditionelle Ordnungen des Sozialen durch Gesellschaften auf Zeit auflösten.
The thirty-two century-old hotels featured in this book have defied the passage of time for a variety of reasons, many explicable, some beyond explanation, all miraculous. For eighteen of them, it was the fortuitous creation of the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission in 1965. The landmarks law was enacted in response to the demolition of the iconic Pennsylvania Station in 1963. After 139 years, the following evaluation is still true: "New York is the paradise of hotels. In no other city do they flourish in such numbers, and nowhere else do they attain such a degree of excellence. The hotels of New York naturally take the lead of all others in America, and are regarded by all who have visited them as models of their kind." James D. McCabe, Jr. Lights and Shadows of New York, 1872
The word "maven" is defined by Wikipedia as a "trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others." Since the 1980s it has become more common when the New York Times columnist William Safire adapted it to describe himself as "the language maven." the word from Hebrew is mainly confined to American English and was included in the Oxford English Dictionary second edition (1989). My three hotel mavens are: 1) Lucius M. Boomer, one of the most famous hoteliers of his time, was chairman of the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria Corporation. In a career of over half a century, he directed such celebrated hotels as the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia, the Taft in New Haven, the Lenox in Boston, and the McAlpin, Claridge, Sherry-Netherland and the original as well as the current Waldorf-Astoria in New York. 2) George C. Boldt who was the genius of the original Waldorf-Astoria. It was said of him that he made innkeeping a profession and, more than any man, was responsible for the modern American hotel. 3) Oscar of the Waldorf who was described in 1898 by the New York Sun: "In only one New York hotel, however, is there a personage deserving to be called a ma and icirc;tre d'hotel. Anyone who studies him closely will soon arrive at a firm conviction that he might quite as appropriately have been called General or Admiral, if circumstances had not led him into the hotel business. Oscar knows everybody." Oscar was a superstar of his time and one of the stalwarts who managed both the original and the current Waldorf-Astoria. Among his many duties, Oscar commanded a staff of 1,000 persons bedsides conducting a school for waiters, at the time the only one of its kind in the United States. In 1896, Oscar wrote one of the greatest cookbooks of its time: "The Cook Book by 'Oscar of the Waldorf'. It contains 907 pages and 3,455 recipes.
During the thirty years prior to the Civil War, Americans built hotels larger and more ostentatious than any in the rest of the world. These hotels were inextricably intertwined with American culture and customs but were accessible to average citizens. As Jefferson Williamson wrote in "The American Hotel" ( Knopf 1930), hotels were perhaps "the most distinctively American of all our institutions for they were nourished and brought to flower solely in American soil and borrowed practically nothing from abroad". Development of hotels was stimulated by the confluence of travel, tourism and transportation. In 1869, the transcontinental railroad engendered hotels by Henry Flagler, Fred Harvey, George Pullman and Henry Plant. The Lincoln Highway and the Interstate Highway System triggered hotel development by Carl Fisher, Ellsworth Statler, Kemmons Wilson and Howard Johnson. The airplane stimulated Juan Trippe, John Bowman, Conrad Hilton, Ernest Henderson, A.M. Sonnabend and John Hammons.. My research into the lives of these great hoteliers reveals that none of them grew up in the hospitality business but became successful through their intense on-the- job experiences. My investigation has uncovered remarkable and startling true stories about these pioneers, some of whom are well-known and others who are lost in the dustbin of history.
F. Scott Fitzgeralds Meisterwerk von 1925 ist eine der großen Liebesgeschichten der Weltliteratur. Jay Gatsby, durch dubiose Geschäfte zum Millionär geworden, gibt in seiner Villa auf Long Island glanzvolle Partys für die New Yorker Gesellschaft. Er selber aber träumt davon, die Vergangenheit wiederzubeleben und seine große Liebe zurückzugewinnen. Doch die Suche nach der verlorenen Zeit endet tragisch.

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