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Monday, March 06, 2017

THE WALDORF


As a young pup in the business world, my first job as a designer was in the heart of New York City. Coming from the sticks of Long Island, arriving for my first job interview was in the Big Apple. As I climbed the steps of the 51st subway station on Lexington Avenue, the first thing I saw as I faced upward was the iconic Waldorf Astoria.

The city of New York is many things, it's the teacher, performer, melting pot, the financial center and sports mecca of the world. Say what you will of Paris, the most sophisticated people in the world are New Yorkers.

But as I grew into the culture that was New York and the advertising world, the city started to come alive for me it was the center of the universe and took over my life like nothing else could. It was all under the shadow of the Waldorf that I grew.

My first job along with my second found me at 641 Lexington Avenue on the 32nd and 17th floors. Having a corner office in one of them I could see the Waldorf every day. The excitement and glitter of the city that never sleeps really hit me hard, the lunches and dinners at the many fine restaurants only contributed to that wondrous feeling. I felt alive and thriving, I was happy.

But every morning I would emerge from the subway stop and dream of staying in the Waldorf, and then when I retired, my dream came true! Along with my bride, we took the train to the city and checked in, went to a show and dinner then back to the Waldorf. We were living in opulence, we had joined the elite in a way, we had something in common with FDR, old Blue Eyes and a host of celebrities, we slept at the Waldorf!

One of the things that hit me was the fact that the place was so old but kept her beauty, her magnificent and dignified glamor, and her past was everything and glorious. Presidents and entertainers, statesmen and famous people of every ilk resided for one time or another and the fa├žade told the story of when it was built and the glory of the old days.

And so, I read and hear the old girl is getting a facelift on the inside. For the first time in its history, it will be closed for renovations. I hope they mean restoration and nothing newer than a screw! Gratefully, they are keeping the exterior as is.

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