counter create hit The Plaza: The Secret Life of America's Most Famous Hotel - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The Plaza: The Secret Life of America's Most Famous Hotel

Availability: Ready to download

Journalist Julie Satow's thrilling, unforgettable history of how one illustrious hotel has defined our understanding of money and glamour, from the Gilded Age to the Go-Go Eighties to today's Billionaire Row. From the moment in 1907 when New York millionaire Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt strode through the Plaza Hotel's revolving doors to become its first guest, to the afternoon Journalist Julie Satow's thrilling, unforgettable history of how one illustrious hotel has defined our understanding of money and glamour, from the Gilded Age to the Go-Go Eighties to today's Billionaire Row. From the moment in 1907 when New York millionaire Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt strode through the Plaza Hotel's revolving doors to become its first guest, to the afternoon in 2007 when a mysterious Russian oligarch paid a record price for the hotel's largest penthouse, the eighteen-story white marble edifice at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street has radiated wealth and luxury. For some, the hotel evokes images of F. Scott Fitzgerald frolicking in the Pulitzer Fountain, or Eloise, the impish young guest who pours water down the mail chute. But the true stories captured in THE PLAZA also include dark, hidden secrets: the cold-blooded murder perpetrated by the construction workers in charge of building the hotel, how Donald J. Trump came to be the only owner to ever bankrupt the Plaza, and the tale of the disgraced Indian tycoon who ran the hotel from a maximum-security prison cell, 7,000 miles away in Delhi. In this definitive history, award-winning journalist Julie Satow not only pulls back the curtain on Truman Capote's Black and White Ball and The Beatles' first stateside visit-she also follows the money trail. THE PLAZA reveals how a handful of rich, dowager widows were the financial lifeline that saved the hotel during the Great Depression, and how, today, foreign money and anonymous shell companies have transformed iconic guest rooms into condominiums that shield ill-gotten gains-hollowing out parts of the hotel as well as the city around it.THE PLAZA is the account of one vaunted New York City address that has become synonymous with wealth and scandal, opportunity and tragedy. With glamour on the surface and strife behind the scenes, it is the story of how one hotel became a mirror reflecting New York's place at the center of the country's cultural narrative for over a century.


Compare

Journalist Julie Satow's thrilling, unforgettable history of how one illustrious hotel has defined our understanding of money and glamour, from the Gilded Age to the Go-Go Eighties to today's Billionaire Row. From the moment in 1907 when New York millionaire Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt strode through the Plaza Hotel's revolving doors to become its first guest, to the afternoon Journalist Julie Satow's thrilling, unforgettable history of how one illustrious hotel has defined our understanding of money and glamour, from the Gilded Age to the Go-Go Eighties to today's Billionaire Row. From the moment in 1907 when New York millionaire Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt strode through the Plaza Hotel's revolving doors to become its first guest, to the afternoon in 2007 when a mysterious Russian oligarch paid a record price for the hotel's largest penthouse, the eighteen-story white marble edifice at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street has radiated wealth and luxury. For some, the hotel evokes images of F. Scott Fitzgerald frolicking in the Pulitzer Fountain, or Eloise, the impish young guest who pours water down the mail chute. But the true stories captured in THE PLAZA also include dark, hidden secrets: the cold-blooded murder perpetrated by the construction workers in charge of building the hotel, how Donald J. Trump came to be the only owner to ever bankrupt the Plaza, and the tale of the disgraced Indian tycoon who ran the hotel from a maximum-security prison cell, 7,000 miles away in Delhi. In this definitive history, award-winning journalist Julie Satow not only pulls back the curtain on Truman Capote's Black and White Ball and The Beatles' first stateside visit-she also follows the money trail. THE PLAZA reveals how a handful of rich, dowager widows were the financial lifeline that saved the hotel during the Great Depression, and how, today, foreign money and anonymous shell companies have transformed iconic guest rooms into condominiums that shield ill-gotten gains-hollowing out parts of the hotel as well as the city around it.THE PLAZA is the account of one vaunted New York City address that has become synonymous with wealth and scandal, opportunity and tragedy. With glamour on the surface and strife behind the scenes, it is the story of how one hotel became a mirror reflecting New York's place at the center of the country's cultural narrative for over a century.

30 review for The Plaza: The Secret Life of America's Most Famous Hotel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

    The Plaza: The Secret Life of America's Most Famous Hotel was a delightful look at the Plaza Hotel in New York City from the opening of its first location in 1890 to the luxurious hotel it became when it reopened its doors in 1907 at Fifty-Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park. This is not only a well-researched history and biography of the famed Plaza Hotel and many of its famous residents as well as its investors over the years, but a remarkable history of New York City and Am The Plaza: The Secret Life of America's Most Famous Hotel was a delightful look at the Plaza Hotel in New York City from the opening of its first location in 1890 to the luxurious hotel it became when it reopened its doors in 1907 at Fifty-Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park. This is not only a well-researched history and biography of the famed Plaza Hotel and many of its famous residents as well as its investors over the years, but a remarkable history of New York City and America from the Gilded Age, the Jazz Age and Prohibition, through two World Wars, the bringing down of the World Trade Center and through 2018. If you love history, New York City, architecture, this is the perfect book. "Great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service." -- Joan Didion "America was going on the greatest, gaudiest spree in history and there was going to be plenty to tell about." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald "New York had all the iridescence of the beginning of the world,"Fitzgerald wrote of this period. "The returning troops marched up Fifth Avenue and girls were instinctively drawn east and north toward them--we were at last admittedly the most powerful nation and there was gala in the air."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    The iconic Plaza Hotel sits on the most prime piece of real estate in NYC........5th Avenue and 59th Street, overlooking Central Park and has prevailed for 112 years, through good times and bad. It was THE place to be seen and some of the very rich lived there year round and were pampered to a fault by the management and staff. Beautifully designed, it was the ultimate in luxury and a magnet for the rich and famous. The author took 11 years to complete the research for this in-depth study of the The iconic Plaza Hotel sits on the most prime piece of real estate in NYC........5th Avenue and 59th Street, overlooking Central Park and has prevailed for 112 years, through good times and bad. It was THE place to be seen and some of the very rich lived there year round and were pampered to a fault by the management and staff. Beautifully designed, it was the ultimate in luxury and a magnet for the rich and famous. The author took 11 years to complete the research for this in-depth study of the life of the Plaza, talking with guests, residents, and staff, some of whom had been at the hotel for 50 years. The stories they told were fascinating and sometimes rather poignant. The Plaza thrived thought the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties and was the setting for some of F.Scott Fitzgerald's stories. With the Great Depression, business faltered and the owner of the Plaza, Harry S. Black, committed suicide after losing his fortune in the stock market crash. And so began the changes of ownership which have plagued the Plaza through present times. First, famous hotelier, Conrad Hilton bought it, then the Westin Hotel chain, then Donald Trump who drove it into bankruptcy, and then the billionaires of the UAE juggled it among themselves and currently is owned by the Qatar Investment Authority. It is not the same Plaza of memory as it now houses luxury condominiums, a boutique hotel, and retail stores. Preservationists did succeed in having it placed on the Historic Register and parts of the hotel still remain the same as the first day, in 1907, when Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt became the first guest to sign the register. This is an interesting and well written history and is recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    The Plaza is sure to thrill the history buff and those with an interest in how the upper crust, wealthy have chosen to live over more than a century. It is an examination on how a successful business adapts to sociological changes and changes to financial cyclical seasonality. The Plaza experienced major transitions in services and delivery to accommodate the needs of its customer base, while its competitors failed to be adaptable. This would serve any marketing student with a greater understand The Plaza is sure to thrill the history buff and those with an interest in how the upper crust, wealthy have chosen to live over more than a century. It is an examination on how a successful business adapts to sociological changes and changes to financial cyclical seasonality. The Plaza experienced major transitions in services and delivery to accommodate the needs of its customer base, while its competitors failed to be adaptable. This would serve any marketing student with a greater understanding in target marketing and business service delivery; as it portrays The Plaza's ability to stay attractive and viable in the marketplace. There is also a bit of focus on the design and its construction for those, who are artistic flavor be it an architect, art enthusiast or someone who likes to build things. There are many antidotes throughout the book that demonstrates its appeal. One situation spawned a television show! The research was very thorough and a great many hours had to have been spent to provide a book rich in great detail. Sometimes, this detail seemed a tad to cumbersome for entertainment purposes. For someone wanting a bedtime read, it was a bit overwhelming. I would compare it to someone wanting a light snack and being served an 8 course meal. The writing is delightful adding enough detail to bring pizazz to the stories. This book though full of personal and business insights is not delivered in an academic or dry nature, which makes for a book accessible to those without a business background. This would be a great gift to history buffs, lovers of the big city culture and those who cherish the New York City lifestyle.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    This detailed history of the Plaza Hotel is a mixed bag for the reader, whose enjoyment of this book will be largely dependent on how interested they are in the minutiae of commercial real estate. (File me under: Not very). There is some fascinating information in this book, to be sure, particularly the chapters that focus on the early history of the Plaza. I just wish the author had focused more on the architecture, design, and goings-on at the hotel rather than the intricate financial circumsta This detailed history of the Plaza Hotel is a mixed bag for the reader, whose enjoyment of this book will be largely dependent on how interested they are in the minutiae of commercial real estate. (File me under: Not very). There is some fascinating information in this book, to be sure, particularly the chapters that focus on the early history of the Plaza. I just wish the author had focused more on the architecture, design, and goings-on at the hotel rather than the intricate financial circumstances present each and every time the hotel was bought and sold. For the record, Satow acquits herself well on that topic in addition to the other parts of the Plaza’s history which were of greater interest to me. The entire book is well-researched and the information always presented well. I just wish the primary focus of the research included had been closer to what is advertised by the publishers summary.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Behle

    This well researched, deftly written and artfully narrated work was for me, a winter's week spent in escapism. Julie Satow weaves a tale that rolls and whistles like a glossy novel, but is a true backed-by-documentation (and great photos) chunk of social history. Satow introduces the massive 1907 Manhattan building as a metal and stone skeletal framework for suspending the famed personalities, intrigue and modern 5th Avenue culture which bring that structure to life. If you have never stepped foo This well researched, deftly written and artfully narrated work was for me, a winter's week spent in escapism. Julie Satow weaves a tale that rolls and whistles like a glossy novel, but is a true backed-by-documentation (and great photos) chunk of social history. Satow introduces the massive 1907 Manhattan building as a metal and stone skeletal framework for suspending the famed personalities, intrigue and modern 5th Avenue culture which bring that structure to life. If you have never stepped foot in The Plaza, or strolled by on your way to Central Park, you've probably seen this grand lady in film. From "Barefoot in the Park" through "Crocodile Dundee" to "The Post" this landmark always shines as a setting. That copper clad roof crowns 19 floors of French Renaissance château-style marble, bronze and gilt power architecture. Whenever I am in New York, I make a point to skip up the entry steps, say good morning to the doorman and front desk staff, saunter the lobby and people watch. Speaking of our modern culture of constantly buying things, there are oodles of high-end shops and eateries throughout to entice one to purchase. Been pining for those $1000 Fendi sneakers? Get 'em here at The Plaza. The buzzing newsstand that once stacked newspapers yard high, I recall, is now a memory. There are now separate common areas for hotel guests (includes us tourists as well) and the condo residents. The Palm Court, still holding court from 1907, is offering their "Valentine's Day Champagne Tea" this month. Per diner: $129. I must highlight the narrator of the audio CD edition, Jefferson Mays. Mays adds his Tony Award-winning style to enhance Satow's prose.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I have never been so thankful to finish a book! This was a very tedious read. I was being generous giving it two stars. It seems that other people enjoyed this book, but I would think only a historian or someone that is totally enamored of the Plaza Hotel would find pleasure from reading it. The book was loaded with so many facts, dates, numbers and details instead of entertaining stories about the people that stayed there. There were a few tales about the famous folks that visited or lived at t I have never been so thankful to finish a book! This was a very tedious read. I was being generous giving it two stars. It seems that other people enjoyed this book, but I would think only a historian or someone that is totally enamored of the Plaza Hotel would find pleasure from reading it. The book was loaded with so many facts, dates, numbers and details instead of entertaining stories about the people that stayed there. There were a few tales about the famous folks that visited or lived at the hotel, including the fictitious Eloise, but most of the time, I found my mind wandering, especially in the latter part of the book where those famous characters were nowhere to be found. I read this for a book club and can only hope the next pick will be a whole lot more enjoyable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This was a well written book and I am regretting that I never went to the Plaza in its heyday for tea or to see the Eloise suite. Lots of interesting facts about the construction of the building and I enjoyed reading about the guests and residents (Seriously? If I had the money I would live in a hotel!) Amazing that the hotel survived the great depression but it took one egotistical man in the late 80s only four years to drive it into bankruptcy. You know who he is - he lives in Washington, DC This was a well written book and I am regretting that I never went to the Plaza in its heyday for tea or to see the Eloise suite. Lots of interesting facts about the construction of the building and I enjoyed reading about the guests and residents (Seriously? If I had the money I would live in a hotel!) Amazing that the hotel survived the great depression but it took one egotistical man in the late 80s only four years to drive it into bankruptcy. You know who he is - he lives in Washington, DC now.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Miles

    Reading a book about a landmark was definitely out of my comfort zone. However, I was intrigued to learn the history about the Plaza Hotel from the beginning till the present. I have seen the Plaza Hotel many times but have never entered the building. I think the different stories included about residents and the multiple owners (including Donald Trump) was fascinating. I would recommend this book to others who are curious to know how a landmark became to be an integral part of New York City.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Loved this in-depth look at the history of the plaza. Read in one sitting.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    The author obviously worked hard to include a comprehensive history of the gorgeous building. I appreciate that and enjoy reading about NYC history through the lens of a regal building. I don’t like reading tabloids, though, and I can’t be bothered with celebrity. I think someone who enjoys reading People Magazine would be more enamored by all the name dropping. I wanted to hear more about the workers who are not known but exploited in keeping the place running. I found the last 100 or so pages The author obviously worked hard to include a comprehensive history of the gorgeous building. I appreciate that and enjoy reading about NYC history through the lens of a regal building. I don’t like reading tabloids, though, and I can’t be bothered with celebrity. I think someone who enjoys reading People Magazine would be more enamored by all the name dropping. I wanted to hear more about the workers who are not known but exploited in keeping the place running. I found the last 100 or so pages about all the swindlers who bought the building only to destroy its reputation to be too boring. She didn’t seem to develop these stories as completely so it read like an annotated list of who’s who in real estate.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mark Mortensen

    I was drawn to “The PLAZA”, as in the early 1980’s I’d generally stay at the hotel a couple times a month on business. There were some great photos and a few interesting topics but the book was a bit of a tabloid and did not seem to follow a solid chronological path.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I was really excited to read this book, eager to learn more about the magical and icon Plaza hotel. While the book is well-written and taught me some about the history of the Plaza, it left me disappointed overall. The author seems to have researched the history of the Plaza a great deal, but reading the book felt like reading a gossip column that started in 1907 and ended close to present day. Sure, I want to learn about the people who played significant roles in the hotel over the ages, but I I was really excited to read this book, eager to learn more about the magical and icon Plaza hotel. While the book is well-written and taught me some about the history of the Plaza, it left me disappointed overall. The author seems to have researched the history of the Plaza a great deal, but reading the book felt like reading a gossip column that started in 1907 and ended close to present day. Sure, I want to learn about the people who played significant roles in the hotel over the ages, but I don't care who Donald Trump was having an affair with when he owned the Plaza. More of a balance between facts/details about the hotel itself and the surrounding social drama would have led to a more satisfying read. Another thought I had numerous times while reading--the tone of the book doesn't paint the historical landmark in a positive light. In fact, I wondered more than once what the author's goal was in writing this book? The short epilogue tries to paint the current hotel as a special and wondrous place as the author describes walking through the lobby and various rooms, but it was too little and too late at that point to salvage the overall tone of the book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    It feels like a love song to the grand past of a once Grand Building that has evolved into a different time and incarnation. It's about all of the luminaries who stayed there and the impact they had on the hotel and on the public who adored them. And it's about the fascinating entertainer who embodied and wrote the iconic series of books about a young girl named Eloise and her home at the Plaza Hotel. I loved the walk through NYC history as viewed through the perspective of an iconic institution It feels like a love song to the grand past of a once Grand Building that has evolved into a different time and incarnation. It's about all of the luminaries who stayed there and the impact they had on the hotel and on the public who adored them. And it's about the fascinating entertainer who embodied and wrote the iconic series of books about a young girl named Eloise and her home at the Plaza Hotel. I loved the walk through NYC history as viewed through the perspective of an iconic institution and it's patrons. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Twelve Books via NetGalley. Thank you!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Dotcity

    I thought this was such an interesting read. A lot of history can be packed into a 112 year old building, as it turns out. Satow's descriptions made all of the disparate characters--from first owner Harry Black to the 39 widows to fraudster Subrata Roy, who went to prison without ever spending a night in the Plaza--come alive on the page. I saw someone complain that the book was too "gossipy." I didn't find it to be so. Yes, Satow includes things that are ripped from tabloids, but only because t I thought this was such an interesting read. A lot of history can be packed into a 112 year old building, as it turns out. Satow's descriptions made all of the disparate characters--from first owner Harry Black to the 39 widows to fraudster Subrata Roy, who went to prison without ever spending a night in the Plaza--come alive on the page. I saw someone complain that the book was too "gossipy." I didn't find it to be so. Yes, Satow includes things that are ripped from tabloids, but only because those people spoke to the tabloids about Plaza incidents. I found her telling of the Trump years to be quite even-handed.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Deidre

    A great history of a great hotel. The story of The Plaza is about more than just one building, it's the story of New York City, of the ways that international finance plays out in the U.S., and more than a few loan cautionary tales added in for good measure. Satow does a brilliant job of making some of the more complicated details come alive through meticulous and thorough research. A great history of a great hotel. The story of The Plaza is about more than just one building, it's the story of New York City, of the ways that international finance plays out in the U.S., and more than a few loan cautionary tales added in for good measure. Satow does a brilliant job of making some of the more complicated details come alive through meticulous and thorough research.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becky Loader

    I must admit that I read this book because I was such an Eloise fan when I was a little kid. The Plaza certainly has had a star-studded, controversy-riddled, mess of a history. I enjoyed the bit about the golden age, but I certainly lost interest when Trump bought it. Ugh.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Clarke Gunter

    This was such an interesting, informational, and fun read for me. The Plaza has led one storied life since it was first opened at its current location in 1907 with Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt as its inaugural guest. This history of its owners, including Donald Trump who owned it and bankrupted it for the first and only time in its long life in the late 1980's and of the many colorful and unbelievably wealthy guests some who lived there for many years, sheds light on the lives of the rich and famous This was such an interesting, informational, and fun read for me. The Plaza has led one storied life since it was first opened at its current location in 1907 with Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt as its inaugural guest. This history of its owners, including Donald Trump who owned it and bankrupted it for the first and only time in its long life in the late 1980's and of the many colorful and unbelievably wealthy guests some who lived there for many years, sheds light on the lives of the rich and famous, but also on the many employees who dedicated their lives to making the Plaza one of the greatest hotels. I stayed at the Plaza once in the early 1980's, but I'm sure I would only recognize the outside of it today. It has been carved up into multi-million dollar condominiums, a boutique hotel, and retail stores. It has been sold many times now, the latest in 2018 to the Qatar Investment Authority and longtime Plaza aficionados are hoping the Plaza will be restored to its former glory. A very good read if the subject interests you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tara Corrigall

    Audio version - The history of New York thru the evolution of the Plaza Hotel. Lots of trivia and of course Eloise.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate Grace

    This book is a compulsively readable ‘biography’ of the iconic Plaza hotel. Author Julie Satow’s research, storytelling, and personal connection(s) are fantastic! I’m just not sure that the book’s cultural criticism ever hits as hard as she intended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    What a fun read! I really enjoy nonfiction and biographies, and this was a great one. Full of interesting, exciting and sometimes sad anecdotes about the people who created and maintained, and inhabited the iconic Plaza Hotel over the years.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Fascinating read about the Plaza Hotel. Having grown up reading Eloise, I wanted to live at the hotel just like she did. Unfortunately Trump plays a large part, so I had to read about him too.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    There are equal parts of information about the famous Plaza Hotel building in NYC and important stories about the people who built it and were residents. I was familiar with Eloise, the fictional resident of The Plaza made famous by books and movies. Eloise has her own chapter in this book. The second Plaza Hotel was built in 1907, with lots of social and physical improvements made over the years. Many famous guests have graced the rooms. Who knew that some Chef Boy-Ar-Dee products were created There are equal parts of information about the famous Plaza Hotel building in NYC and important stories about the people who built it and were residents. I was familiar with Eloise, the fictional resident of The Plaza made famous by books and movies. Eloise has her own chapter in this book. The second Plaza Hotel was built in 1907, with lots of social and physical improvements made over the years. Many famous guests have graced the rooms. Who knew that some Chef Boy-Ar-Dee products were created there?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karenbike Patterson

    The early years of the Plaza (1905- the 1930s) were very interesting when all the iconic places were being used and established as National Historic Places. From Donald Trump on the building became more of a token to be traded, chopped up, and used like an old mistress. The recent decades have seen the place owned by foreign magnates with lots of money troubles. I did enjoy the stories of the 39 widows in the lobby, the black and white ball given by Truman Capote, the strikes and resolutions in The early years of the Plaza (1905- the 1930s) were very interesting when all the iconic places were being used and established as National Historic Places. From Donald Trump on the building became more of a token to be traded, chopped up, and used like an old mistress. The recent decades have seen the place owned by foreign magnates with lots of money troubles. I did enjoy the stories of the 39 widows in the lobby, the black and white ball given by Truman Capote, the strikes and resolutions in the city and by the hotel workers. But especially I liked to read about the Eloise years.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I’m a Southern girl, me, and I love a stay at a nice hotel, but glamorous New York City hotels have never been a big part of my life.  However, there are hotels, and there are icons – like The Plaza.  Today’s Plaza is actually the second one on the site and opened in 1907, the same year that taxicabs were introduced in New York.  The Plaza.  Let’s do a little name-dropping here.  The first recorded guest – Alfred G. Vanderbilt.  There’s F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, Conrad Hilton, Truman Capote I’m a Southern girl, me, and I love a stay at a nice hotel, but glamorous New York City hotels have never been a big part of my life.  However, there are hotels, and there are icons – like The Plaza.  Today’s Plaza is actually the second one on the site and opened in 1907, the same year that taxicabs were introduced in New York.  The Plaza.  Let’s do a little name-dropping here.  The first recorded guest – Alfred G. Vanderbilt.  There’s F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, Conrad Hilton, Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball.  Donald Trump longed to own The Plaza, made a woefully bad deal to get it, and Ivana managed it as their marriage and fortune dissolved.  Hotel as residence was a strange concept to me, but over the years, this grandest of hotels was home to many notable and wealthy folks.  Frank Lloyd Wright was one, and you’ll love the Thirty-Nine Widows who lingered on and on as residents.  Through two World Wars, Prohibition, the Great Depression, New York City’s financial perils, economic booms and busts, The Plaza held on, and its story, as told by Julie Satow, is a wonderfully entertaining one.  Oh, you know who else lived at The Plaza?  Kay Thompson and Eloise!  Visit there or move right on in as you read this delightful book. Make a reservation for this title at your local bookseller on June 4. Full Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided to me by Twelve Books via NetGalley.  I would like to thank the publisher and the author for providing me this opportunity.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    While I enjoyed the various anecdotes throughout this book and the chronological order of the retelling of events, it was a little too nonfiction, journalistic fact-based reporting for my taste. I found a lot of the information interesting, and it made me want to visit the Plaza to see everything described in the book, but it also made me a little sad to see such a historic and beautiful piece of the past eventually get chipped away at more and more to where only bits of its former grandeur are While I enjoyed the various anecdotes throughout this book and the chronological order of the retelling of events, it was a little too nonfiction, journalistic fact-based reporting for my taste. I found a lot of the information interesting, and it made me want to visit the Plaza to see everything described in the book, but it also made me a little sad to see such a historic and beautiful piece of the past eventually get chipped away at more and more to where only bits of its former grandeur are still intact. Unfortunately the latter half of this book reminded me of the ugliness of modern wealth and greed and everything that comes along with it. Overall, I thought it was an extensively well-researched book (as evidenced by its fifty-plus pages of notes, sources, etc at the end) and is a great chronicle of both the progression of the Plaza over its lifetime, as well as the progression of New York City as a whole over the last century. Not exactly my cup of tea in reading material, but for people interested in New York City, the Plaza, or architecture, I would enthusiastically recommend this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Regan

    Super read! In a marvelous story telling voice Satow takes her readers into the origins of the Plaza Hotel, it's owners, residents, foibles and major events. Growing up in New York I remember bits and pieces like the Beatles arrival at the Plaza -- although I couldn't go )-:. The ups and downs of the owners is told interspersed with events occurring at the time in New York and the world. Famous personages such as Truman Capote and the not so real Eloise traveled through the hotel. Even if you do Super read! In a marvelous story telling voice Satow takes her readers into the origins of the Plaza Hotel, it's owners, residents, foibles and major events. Growing up in New York I remember bits and pieces like the Beatles arrival at the Plaza -- although I couldn't go )-:. The ups and downs of the owners is told interspersed with events occurring at the time in New York and the world. Famous personages such as Truman Capote and the not so real Eloise traveled through the hotel. Even if you do not enjoy non-fiction or live(d) in New York, this is a biography (albeit of a building) you do not want to miss.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Goya Outeiriño

    Some of my favorite memories of New York revolve around this iconic hotel, this is why I was looking forward to reading this book. Julie tells in this book many interesting stories about this hotel, since the early days of its founding until today. It seems as the walls of this hotel have talked with Julie and they’ve told her their most juicy secret. If you love luxury hotels or New York city then this is the book for you.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    What doesn't The Plaza have? Over the years they have had just about everything, including a long-term guest who brought a lion and a family of alligators to live with her. Scandal, parties, crime, drama and drama and more drama! I'd love to time travel and visit the Plaza during its heyday. Satow does a great job of bring the building to life, lots of great stories and interesting people are in this book. What doesn't The Plaza have? Over the years they have had just about everything, including a long-term guest who brought a lion and a family of alligators to live with her. Scandal, parties, crime, drama and drama and more drama! I'd love to time travel and visit the Plaza during its heyday. Satow does a great job of bring the building to life, lots of great stories and interesting people are in this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Everett

    The Plaza first came onto my radar via its role in the 1992 movie Home Alone 2, where Kevin McCallister boards the wrong plane when departing for a family vacation and ends up in New York City. He uses his dad's credit card to check into the Plaza. Kid knows what's up. I'm not a New Yorker, so I don't have any personal connections to this titan of a building. I don't think I've ever set foot inside, not even to use the restrooms in the lobby. But the parade of those who have certainly includes an The Plaza first came onto my radar via its role in the 1992 movie Home Alone 2, where Kevin McCallister boards the wrong plane when departing for a family vacation and ends up in New York City. He uses his dad's credit card to check into the Plaza. Kid knows what's up. I'm not a New Yorker, so I don't have any personal connections to this titan of a building. I don't think I've ever set foot inside, not even to use the restrooms in the lobby. But the parade of those who have certainly includes an abundance of some of the most recognizable names from history, and the stories that take place there are the stuff of American legend. The book neatly moves through the Plaza's history chronologically, beginning with Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt strolling through the door as the hotel's first guest in 1907. The hotel is a microcosm of what's going on in America, both socially and economically. In the New York Times review of this book, Tina Brown sums it up perfectly with her assertion that author Julie Satow "digs deep into the forces that took the Plaza from a living center of aspiring social connection tied to the fortunes of American high society to its present status in an atomized era of pitiless transactional globalism." (Her entire review is 100% spot on, to the point where I'm not even sure why I'm bothering to write this. Link below.) It's a book that requires you to really spend some time with it and pay attention, or else it's easy to read 3 pages and pass out. Once I made the effort to dig in, it was indeed fascinating social history. "'Great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service.' -Joan Didion" p. 3 "'New York had all the iridescence of the beginning of the world,' [F. Scott] Fitzgerald wrote of this period." p. 65 "'It is this continuity with the past, more than anything else, which lays hold upon the imagination at mention of the Plaza, this quality of intactness from a time that is even now, to a whole generation of Americans, only a wistful souvenir of an age of graciousness and glamour.'" p. 121, quote from gossip columnist Lucius Beebe On Eloise: "Even a half-century later, the character remains indelible. In 2015, the New Yorker called Eloise 'a prefeminist hero' who evokes a 'freewheeling urbanity, a happy rebelliousness within a realm of sophistication.' It was for a review of a film documenting [Hilary] Knight's life, produced by the young writer, actress, and Eloise fan Lena Dunham." p. 129 On converting the Edwardian Room to the Green Tulip in the 1970s, from architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable: "These alterations were an anathema, 'a kind of creeping, crawling bad taste in which even the authentic is being made to look fake.' Of particular ire, the Green Tulip was 'a successful attempt to reduce period grandeur to comfortable, gimmicky ordinariness...What is real, now looks fake. Class is out. Confusion is in.'" p. 168 "With each room I entered, I shed more of my journalistic impartiality, and in turn, felt the increasing power of my affection for the Plaza. It was, I realized, this kind of connection, the memories that the hotel prompted and inspired, that gave the building its character and staying power." p. 286-287 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/31/bo... https://ny.eater.com/2017/5/5/1554681...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    I have several histories of famous and notorious hotels/buildings and I must admit that Satow provided an easily read as well as well flowing history to the Plaza. Her research - which seemed to uncover information previous undetected - tried to provide a complete picture of the luxury that the Plaza embodied as well as the numerous situations where the building was nearly lost forever. Especially when faced with the fight between the Israeli owners who was more focused on how much money they co I have several histories of famous and notorious hotels/buildings and I must admit that Satow provided an easily read as well as well flowing history to the Plaza. Her research - which seemed to uncover information previous undetected - tried to provide a complete picture of the luxury that the Plaza embodied as well as the numerous situations where the building was nearly lost forever. Especially when faced with the fight between the Israeli owners who was more focused on how much money they could wring out of their purchase after dumping millions into renovations and upgrades verses the New York Landmark organizations as well as the hotel workers unions which forced the public eye towards one more example of the widening divide between the extremely wealthy and the common man. But I'm getting ahead of myself. When the Plaza first opened in 1907 on Fifth Avenue with the spectacular view of Central Park, the idea of living at a hotel was completely new. From Alfred Vanderbilt - the first signature on the new register to the competition to be the last out the door when the Plaza closed for massive renovations in 2005 - the renowned and the notorious spent time at the Plaza. F.Scott Fitzgerald. Kay Thompson and her creation that wandered the halls, Eloise. Sir Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer. The Beatles. Enrico Caruso. "Diamond Jim" Brady. Numerous members of the nobility and socialites and the infamous rich, and eccentric thirty-nine widows that resided within and spent their days in the lobby listening to the harpsichord being played in the Palm Court. Then there was the dining experiences of the Palm Court itself as well as the subterranean Grill Room. The Edwardian Room. The Oak Bar and Oak Room along with the Terrace Room. The ballroom that held Truman Capote's famous Black and White Ball. Ownership of the Plaza - fortunately it survived the Great Depression - was pinnacle that many a developer and hotelier yearned for. In the past fifty years, it's changed hands many times with the price being paid going higher and higher. With the decision of the El Ad Properties to carve the building up into condominiums and independent leased areas, it became THE place to own a place to live in New York City. Condos would go for millions especially if they had a great view of Central Park. Unfortunately, it is also the time where questionable purchases of suites and penthouses by shell companies hinted at criminal activity and money laundering. The 18-story white marble building that sits on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th Street definitely has a personality. Tales of more of the people that were residents - especially the 38 widows - would have appealed to more readers but then the book is about the building. The building that is finally under one holding company again. I actually went over to the Plaza residences webpage on the date I wrote this review. There are 6 apartments available for purchase between the 7th and 16th floor. The prices range from $2.2 million for a one-bedroom and $11.85 million for a 3-bedroom. This just shrieks of the chasm that separates the wealthy from the general public but certainly, if I had that level of money, living at such a lovely place would certainly be tempting. 2021-007

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.