8. The Algonquin Round Table

Perhaps the most famous piece of history about the Algonquin Hotel is The Round Table. In 1919, a group of 30 writers, editors, publicists and actors who met for lunch for a roast on New York Times critic Alexander Woollcott. Apparently, the group of friends had so much fun, they decided to meet at the hotel for lunch on a daily basis for about eight years. Some of the core members included Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley and Alexander Woollcott. This original group came to be known as “The Poison Squad” by fellow member Edna Ferber or more popularly as the “Vicious Circle.”

As vicious critics of each other’s work and of the goings on around the country, in 1925, the group had become so famous that it was no longer just a private meeting of friends. Instead, it became the source of much interest and entertainment by the public who wanted to know everything they were saying. Like most friend groups, time and interest saw “The Poison Squad” slowly dissipate as the country sank into the Great Depression, and many of the members even moved away from New York to further their careers elsewhere.

The hotel itself as played host to many writers, editors, actors, and other industry types for 100 years, but it was the original Round Table that catapulted the hotel to fame and made it a literary landmark.