Sep 30, 2021 –
September 30, 2021
Known internationally as a symbol of elegance and luxury, Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria is one of the world’s most famous hotels. Its reputation as a host to political leaders and movie stars is matched only by the renown of its cuisine and soaring Art Deco architecture. In this lecture based on his recent book, American Hotel: The Waldorf-Astoria and the Making of a Century, historian David Freeland will take us beyond the glittering image, using rare photos and documents to reveal the full extent of the Waldorf’s contribution as a shaper of twentieth century life and culture. Freeland’s talk for Historic Districts Council will take place on the 90th anniversary of the day – September 30, 1931 – the current Waldorf-Astoria building on Park Avenue opened to the public.
Along the way, we’ll gain a behind-the-scenes understanding of the fascinating ways the Waldorf-Astoria – as an institution devoted to hospitality – influenced the social and political life of the city. Taking us back to a time when American hotels saw themselves as leaders within their communities, Freeland will illustrate how the Waldorf-Astoria contributed to some of New York’s most dramatic events while fulfilling its institutional mission as a host to the metropolis. He’ll also discuss the successful preservation effort – led by HDC and its allies – that resulted in the landmark designation of much of the Waldorf’s interior in 2017.
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