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The Waldorf-Astoria and the Life of the City
May 5 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Wed, May 5, 2021
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
About this Event
When the original Hotel Waldorf opened on Fifth Avenue in 1893, its managers sought to create a “haven for the well-to-do,” an elite citadel that would guard the privacy (and secrets) of a select assemblage of Astors, Vanderbilts and Whitneys. But after the Waldorf doubled in size with the addition of the Astoria in 1897, it had to open its doors to a wider spectrum. In this lecture based on his forthcoming book, American Hotel: The Waldorf-Astoria and Making of a Century, David Freeland will discuss how the hotel that cultivated (it was once said) “exclusiveness among the masses” became a turn-of-century meeting place for all kinds of people. Along the way, he’ll share a range of photos and documents to highlight the Waldorf’s contributions in architecture, music, and cuisine.
David Freeland is the author of the books Automats, Taxi Dances and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure, for which he won the 2009 Award for Popular Culture and Entertainment for 2009 from the Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America, and Ladies of Soul. As a historian and journalist, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, am New York, Time Out New York, New York History, American Songwriter, and other publications. He appeared in episodes of NBC TV’s “Who Do You Think You Are” and NYC Media’s “Secrets of New York.” Freeland lives in New York, where he leads walking tours and gives lectures on the city’s culture and history.