A sketch of the original Waldorf Hotel on Fifth Avenue as it appeared in the 1890s, on the left. The current hotel on Park Avenue is shown on the right. It remains one of the largest luxury hotels in Manhattan today.
The Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue was designed by architects Shultze and Weaver in 1931 but the legacy of the hotel dates back to the late 1800s when two feuding cousins, John Jacob-Astor IV and William Waldorf-Astor, two of New York's wealthiest gentelmen, attempted to out-do each other by building the country's most luxurious hotel. The Waldorf Hotel (built by William Waldorf-Astor in 1893) was 13 stories high, making it the tallest hotel in the world at the time. Not to be outdone, his jealous cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, built the Astor Hotel directly adjacent to the Waldorf, four stories higher in 1897. The hotels were eventually joined by a large corridor and re-Christened as one hotel, the Waldorf=Astoria. The original hotel was located on Fifth Avenue but in 1929 it was closed, after decades of hosting distinguished visitors from around the world. This paved the way for a reincarnation 15 blocks north on Park Avenue. The current hotel opened on October 1, 1931 as the world’s largest and tallest hotel, a veritable city-within-a-city. Today it remains one of the world’s largest Art Deco buildings and the Waldorf=Astoria continues to be one of the city’s most beloved – and utilized – institutions. Below are some photographs I took of the hotel. I was especially dazzled by the beautiful chandeliers, many of which are made with Waterford crystal.
The corridor that linked the two original hotels on Fifth Avenue was recreated in the new Park Avenue location and named "Peacock Alley" after the high-society women who would parade between hotels preening themselves in their finery. The corridor joins the lobby of the Park Avenue hotel with the Waldorf Towers, a luxury residence. The clock shown above was a gift to the hotel from Queen Victoria. The Statue of Liberty pinacle was added later by the hotel's owners, much to the chagrin of the Brits. You will notice all of the beautiful Art Deco details on the ceiling and the massive marble columns. One must always look up at the Waldorf!
This incredible chandelier is located in the Grand Ballroom - a four-story room with the most beautiful details. The crystal on this chandelier is Waterford. Again, notice the glorious Art Deco patterns on the ceiling.
Another view of the chandelier and the massive ballroom, with its row of balconies.
Even the corridors are decked with gold-plating and beautiful architectural details.
The architects recreated the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles at the Waldorf. This corridor is called the Silver Corridor, lined with mirrors and silver-leaf trim.
The chandeliers are miniature replicas of the chandeliers at Versailles.
At the end of the Silver Corridor is this magnificent ballroom with hand-painted medallions on the ceilings.