8. There Was An Automobile Showroom in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel

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The General Motors Motor Show, which was then known as “Motorama,” was showcased in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria from 1931 to 1961. There were no car dealerships in the city back then, and this was a way to showcase fancy prototypes and concept vehicles to the public during the New York Auto Show. The Grand Ballroom is four-stories tall and not only housed auto shows, but could also seat 1,500 for dinner or 1,100 with dancing. The one and only Waterford crystal chandelier, out of 123 chandeliers, each patented and made of Austrian crystal, is located in the Grand Ballroom. It measures 16 feet in diameter. The Grand Ballroom a designated New York City interior landmark and is currently in the process of being restored to its 1931 Art Deco glamor by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM).

In addition to the Grand Ballroom, there are many other event rooms at The Waldorf Astoria. Since they are frequently booked, we rarely get a chance to see them. We were delighted to get a look at the magnificent Basildon Room with its beautiful paneling, Parisian marble fireplace and frescoed ceiling.