15. Hotel Astor
Hotel Astor. Photo from Library of Congress.
On the evening of the parade, Billy attended a formal dinner at the Hotel Astor in Times Square. As Shapiro writes, it was an even larger bash than the luncheon held for Admiral Byrd at the Advertising Club of New York, “broadcast live by radio stations WOR, WABC, and WNBC. In a dinner coat borrowed from his father, Billy took his place–mercifully, Byrd’s expedition heroes were grouped together–at table A, seat 5. The lavish menu was a bounty of food the likes which had not been in the iciest of continents, and would have been scandalous to serve even a year later as the economy fared ever worse.” The French-influenced menu is reproduced in full in the book.
The elaborate Hotel Astor, with a rooftop pleasure garden, and ornate architecture (across many styles), was demolished in 1972, one of the many lost hotels on Broadway. The site is now home to MTV Studios and other businesses.