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"This book preview contains selected pages from Great, Grand & Famous Hotels. If you wish to purchase the book or find out more, please go to
Hotels : Sample NY
148 The Roaring 20s The new waldorf=astoria By the 1920s, New York had firmly established itself as the financial and intellectual epicentre of America. It was a time of heightened optimism fuelled by an unprecedented surge of wealth. The radio and the automobile had 'arrived' and air travel was on the up. This 'Flapper' era was all about ideas, innovation, and wealth creation, none in short supply in New York City. CHAPTER 8 New hotels sprouted like mushrooms all over the booming metropolis -- The Roosevelt, The Carlyle, The Warwick (Randolph Hearst's gift to his mistress), The Barbizon, (a hotel for women only), The Ritz Towers, and the grand triumvirate of the Sherry-Netherland, The Pierre, and the new Waldorf=Astoria. THE PHOENIX RISES The building, design, and location of the new Waldorf=Astoria presented a perfect example of a new era in hotel keeping. Vanity Fair at the time declared, "It is far beyond anything attempted in the hotel world." The 'new' Waldorf=Astoria was not so much a new hotel, as a re-interpretation of everything that the original hotel stood for. The social life of New York, centred very much round the hotel scene, was shifting even further uptown. Lucius Boomer and his financial partners understood that they had to move towards their cash cow. Boomer had already streamlined the running of the original Waldorf=Astoria and was a master at recognising that efficiency was an essential ingredient in maintaining the important appearance of an opulent establishment delivering personalised service. (Boomer became a rich man in his own right through the contacts he established at the Waldorf.) Profits from the sale of the old hotel contributed to the building of a grand hotel determined to be bigger, brighter, and better than any other. The new hotel was fully financed in August 1929 'through bonds and common stock underwritten by a group of Wall Street banking houses.' Although just three months shy of the Great Crash of 1929, construction of the hotel continued on regardless.