Located at 59 W. 44th Street in New York City’s Theater District in Midtown Manhattan, the Algonquin Hotel has stood for almost 115 years as the oldest hotel in the city and the gathering place for many of the city’s celebrities, from writers to actors. Despite changing hands a few times in the last few decades, the hotel still maintains its literary and celebrity reputation, appearing also in many movies. So, with over 100 years of history, we figured the historic hotel would have some interesting secrets. Here are the top 10 secrets of the Algonquin Hotel.
10. The Algonquin Hotel Has a Resident Cat
The current Algonquin cat in residence, the eighth Hamlet.
The Algonquin’s tradition of having a resident cat in the hotel began in the 1930s when Frank Case took in a “raggly-taggly,” abandoned, stray cat that wandered off the street into the hotel one day. The cat was originally named Rusty by Case, but actor John Barrymore, a frequent guest of the hotel, decided the cat needed a more theatrical name, changing it to Hamlet. According to NPR, Rusty drank his milk out of a champagne glass, talk about a fancy cat.
With the renaming of Rusty began an new hotel tradition in which each male cat would be named Hamlet, and female cat Matilda. Since, Rusty-turned-Hamlet, the hotel has been home to a three Matildas and eight Hamlets. Today, the role of Algonquin cat is fulfilled by the eighth Hamlet. Should you wish to contact the cat but do not have the time to visit in person, he can be reached via email, or you can even find him on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, Instagram.
Want to know more about Matilda? Check out our interview with Matilda, the Algonquin Cat.
The third, most recent Matilda on the front desk at the Algonquin Hotel.