Hotels: First Since the Waldorf

The King and Queen of Siam were on hand for the first luncheon. President Herbert Hoover spoke from Washington. Even in the chauffeurs' waiting room, champagne flowed. Mr. Bagby's Musical Mornings were scheduled in the ballroom (Kirsten Flagstad, Giovanni Martinelli, et al.). Thus, 30 years ago, the new Waldorf-Astoria opened on Manhattan's Park Avenue, setting a tone of stately, if slightly too chromium-plated, elegance that lasted nearly into the days of Hiltonization. This week, for the first time since the Waldorf debut, a new hotel opened in Manhattan, but the atmosphere was different.

President Kennedy was busy, so the owners...

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