Friday, January 21, 2011

Livin' It Livre: New York's Algonquin Hotel

Acton and I had a lovely evening at the Algonquin last night. I wasn't sure what to expect. (The two of us have braved some pretty awful historical homes in our day; Monet's Giverny coming in at an all time low). I was prepared for a faded relic layered with a Madam Tussauds-esque Kitsch. 
But to our delight we found the Algonquin to be still very much au courante. The staff was extremely friendly and the cocktails were delicious, if pricey. 
We toasted to literary greats past with what we thought would be their drinks of choice: A Manhattan for Acton and an Old Fasioned for me.  Our table was literally a stones throw away from the actual round table. And we were inspired to talk writing projects, short story reads, and our up coming post schedule for Livre Life. At the end of the night, we were given a nice informative brochure detailing the history of the Algonquin, which I've excerpted below!
PS Acton let it slip that we were covering the Algonquin for Livre Life and when we left our uber nice waiter waived goodbye and thanked us for gracing the hotel! If only! Maybe in a few years we'll come back and toast as published writers!

Legendary manager and owner Frank Case, who joined the Algonquin staff while the hotel was still under construction, believer that the original name-The Puritan-was too straitlaced. He changed it to the Algonquin, opting for an indigenous American name rather than a grand European name favored by the other hoteliers of the age.

Among other notables: Three Nobel Laureates visited on a regular basis, including Sinclair Lewis (who offered to buy the hotel), Derek Walcott, and most memorably William Faulker, who drafter his Nobel PRize acceptance speech at the Algonquin in 1950. 

The Algonquin Round Table (See Acton's previous post for great detail): Mrs. Parker and her friends were immortalized in 1987 in Aviva Slesin's Academy Award-winning documentary, The Ten Year Lunch. In 1994 the group was once again transported to the big screen in Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle, produced by Robert Altman and starring Jennifer Jasom Leigh as mrs. Parker.

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