9. The Hotel Hosted a Contest to Welcome Its First (Official) Male Guest

To solve the problem of low vacancy rates, the Barbizon need new clients. The largest untapped market for the hotel was men. So, after fifty-four years of catering solely to women, the Barbizon welcomed its first, official, male guest on Valentine’s ay 1981. The title didn’t just go to the first guy who booked a room; no, this was an event. The Barbizon hosted a raffle to select who would be the first man to stay at the hotel.

The winner, homeopathic doctor David Cleveland from Massachusetts, was picked up at JFK Airport by limo and chauffeured to the hotel, where he was met with fanfare. While Sammy Crahn sang love songs in the lobby, Dr. Cleveland was handed his key as a bevy of camera shutters clicked. As he strode out of the lobby and up to his room, no one tried to stop him. Dr. Cleveland was joined by seventy other men who booked rooms at the Barbizon that historic weekend.