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Death Star: 1902

Death Star: 1902

Circa 1902. "The Waldorf-Astoria, New York." The original, and somewhat forbidding, Waldorf at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. Complete with the obligatory windowsill milk bottle. Detroit Publishing Co. glass negative. View full size.


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Maitre d' Marcos

My grandfather Marcel Burgos was maitre d' for this Waldorf for many years during the 1920s. My dad told many stories about him. Anybody out there have any records of any employes from there?

What a beauty!

I'd like to live there those times and see it with my own eyes!

The old family homestead

According to an old family legend, an ancestor of mine once had his farm at this location in the early 19th century. I'm sure he'd kick himself If he could see what the property values were now!


the name was the Waldorf=Astoria! The "=" sign was put in because the cousins who built the two side by side hotel couldn't agree on whose name would be first in the new name!

I would have loved to have stayed here, even in the smallest room.

Penthouse Views

What would the uses of the top several floors be in this building? They are very unusual; the arrangement, size and shape of the top floor windows.

The Waldorf Salad

It seems like Doghouse Riley has been watching too many Fawlty Tower reruns, as well as myself. The Waldorf Salad episode is one of my favorites.

Tricks of the House Wreckers

Modern Mechanics featured the demolition of the Waldorf Astoria in the June 1930 issue. Click to enlarge.

Astor Court

The banner on top of the short building on the right probably reads "Astor Court" - not "Astoria." The Astor Court Building stood just west of the private alley (also called Astor Court) that separated it from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. All of this became part of the site of the Empire State Building.

One assumes that ..

you could get a Waldorf Salad here. And screwdrivers.

It Hyphened One Night

The Waldorf-Astoria was originally built as 2 separate hotels by feuding members of the Astor family. The Waldorf on the left (the shorter half) was built in 1983 1883, and the Astoria on the right was completed in 1897. The two were soon operated as one hotel, but it's apparently possible to separate them back into two distinct entities if needed.

It may be cold outside but it's sure hot in here!

I guess the steam heat was cranking because there are an awful lot of open windows.

Movie Set

Looks like Sigourney Weaver's apartment building in "Ghostbusters."

[Which was on Central Park West. - Dave]

v = ?(2gx)

Given the generous "no walk" zones at sidewalk level, do you
suppose the engineers took the milk bottle "Oops Factor" into

Police Hat

Always a little tip-off on the season to check the hats of the cops. The gray ones were worn in summer, blue in Winter. Likewise with the straw hats. There was a season for them, much like we used to say about white pants. There was the famous "straw hat riot" in 1922 where a bunch of street toughs started ripping the skimmers off men who'd worn them after the agreed-upon cut-off date.

[Probably the best seasonal tipoff: Windowsill milk bottles! - Dave]

34th Street

The street on the north side, the one with the trolley, appears narrower than it is today. It may be an optical illusion but it seems to be missing a lane on both sides. Today 34th Street is one of the busiest in the city, leading east to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and Long Island and west to the world's largest store, Macy's, and continuing to the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey and points beyond. This of course, takes nothing away from the magnificent old Waldorf or its successor, the landmarked Empire State Building.

The storks also deliver milk!

It's amazing that, in addition to tiny babes, the storks are also adept at delivering windowsill milk bottles.... 7 stories high!

OK - I give up.

What's an "obligatory windowsill milk bottle?"

[A familiar sight on these pages. Left out to chill. - Dave]

It stood for less than 40 years

Torn down in 1929 to make way for the Empire State Building.

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