The Algonquin, an Autograph Collection Hotel
Located close to the bustling heart of Times Square and Fifth Avenue, this jewel of historic New York hotels has long entertained the city’s literary and cultural elite, as well as those who delight in creating their own unique stories.
1902 The algonquin opens
The Algonquin opened on November 22, 1902. Single rooms cost $2 dollars a night while larger three-bedroom accommodations cost $10. The hotel was originally planned to be residential but found short term guests to be more profitable. Frank Case is the hotel’s first General Manager. He eventually buys the hotel and continues to run it until his death in 1946.
1904 The annex
The two story horse stable next to the Algonquin was purchased. A year later the third floor was added. Over the years the annex housed a barber shop, apartments, a supper club, a rehearsal studio, and several different restaurants.
1919 The round table’s first lunch
In the summer of 1919 a group of writers met in the Pergola Room for a party and came to have lunch at the Algonquin every day after that for the next 10 years. Frank Case moved them out into the main dining and the world was introduced for the Vicious Circle.
1923 The first resident cat
Billy the cat was a very friendly feline that lived in the hotel for 15 years. Two days after his death a stray cat wandered in looking for food. Frank Case immediately adopted the cat and named him Rusty. He was eventually renamed Hamlet and begins the long lineage of cats that live in the hotel.
1925 The new yorker is founded
After winning a handsome amount of money in a poker game against other Round Table Members, Harold Ross finances and creates The New Yorker.
1933 Blue Bar Opens
When prohibition ends Frank Case reopens the bar in the hotel. John Barrymore convinces Case to place blue gels over the lights as one looks more attractive under such lighting. The Blue Bar has been a part of the hotel since.
1936 New york drama critics circle awards
On March 25, 1936 the members of the Critics Circle meet and argue for three hours in a room in the hotel trying to vote for a winner. A week later, during a dinner reception at The Algonquin, the award is presented to Maxwell Ansderson’s Winterset.
1946 The bodne’s purchase the algonquin
In 1924, Ben and Mary Bodne honeymoon at The Algonquin and fall in love with the hotel. Ben promised his new bride he will buy it for her one day. When Frank Case passed away in 1946 and the hotel was put up for sale, Ben Bodne purchases the hotel fulfilling his promise.
1981 The oak room
The Oak Room opens as a cabaret bringing a new era to The Algonquin. The Oak Room launches the careers for Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall, Michael Feinstein, Peter Cincotti and Andrea Marcovicci.
2004 The $10,000 martini
A young gentleman pops the question to his girlfriend in big style and purchases the first ever $10,000 Martini. He surprises her in the Blue Bar and she immediately accepts. When all is said and done the proposal cost almost $13,000.
2012 The modern algonquin
The hotel closes for nine months and undergoes a complete top to bottom $5 million renovation. The hotel reopens with a stunning new look designed by famed designer Alexandra Champalimaud.
Exploring 44th Street
- The Hippodrome TheatreLocated on Sixth Avenue, the theatre was the largest in the world from 1905 through 1939. The capacity of the theatre was 5,300 and its stage was 12 times larger than any Broadway house. The theatre could house elephants and also had a 8,000 gallon clear water tank that could be raised above stage for water performances.
- Harvard Club35 W 44th Street - Founded in 1865 and designed by McKim, Mead & White, the club is a private establishment exclusively for alumni and staff of the University. The club offers sleeping rooms, restaurants and beautiful space for events.
- The New York Yacht Club37 W 44th Street - This location opened in 1901 and it was designed by Warren and Wetmore the same architects that planned the exterior of Grand Central Terminal. The club itself is over 170 years old and is invitation only and currently has about 3,000 members.
- The New Yorker28 W 44th Street was the magazine's second office in which they occupied 7 floors from 1935-1991. The New Yorker is now part of the Condé Nast family and currently resides at One World Trade Cener.
- The Lambs Club132 W 44th Street – The official American home to “The Lambs” opened in 1905 and was the first professional theatrical club. Also designed by Mckim, Mead & White the three story building consisted of a theater, restaurant and sleeping quarters.
- General Society of Mechanics20 W 44th Street - Founded in 1785 this organization has celebrated over 230 years of service to the people of NYC. This building is the fifth home of the society and was opened in 1899.
- The Yale Club44th Street and Vanderbilt -Designed by Yale alumni James Gamble Rogers, this current location of the Club opened in 1915. Membership is exclusive to alumni and facility, The Yale Club has the largest membership with 11,000 members worldwide.
- Condé Nast Publications19-25 W 44th Street - Condé Nast moved the offices of his magazines from Fifth Ave to 44th Street in 1919. It was the Vanity Fair offices that Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Robert Sherwood became lifelong friends.
In Good Company
44th Street between Fifth and Sixth professes a rich social, theatrical and literary history, a culture that still thrives today.
“Legendary Algonquin manager and owner Frank Case enjoyed the company of actors and writers, and he was instrumental at positioning the hotel at the center of New York’s literary and theatrical life.”
– Condé Nast Traveller