On October 1st, 1931, the legendary Waldorf-Astoria opened. In honor of the hotel’s 90th birthday, the Waldorf Astoria New York, the entity behind the restoration of the hotel and its partial conversion into private residences, has launched Waldorf Stories. The new stand-alone website features the oral history of the hotel, told through people that lived to experience the hotel at its grandest. These include staff, guests, visitors, and more, but includes everyday moments as well as major events. The public has been invited to submit their own stories as well, as well as upload digital memorabilia. The person who submits the winning entry will be given a VIP “Weekend at the Waldorf,” and be one of the first guests to stay at the hotel at its re-opening in 2023.

“When we purchased the legendary Waldorf Astoria, we knew we were taking on the mantle of preserving its great history. We are celebrating the hotel’s 90th anniversary by capturing its history through the memories of the people who have walked its hallowed halls,” said Andrew Miller, CEO of Dajia US, which is overseeing the property’s restoration.

Shirley Maclaine with Hughie McWeir
Shirley Maclaine with Hughie Weir, events director at the Waldorf-Astoria. Photo courtesy Hughie Weir/Waldorf Astoria New York.

Here are some of the people currently featured in Waldorf Stories:

  • Hughie Weir, the events director at the Waldorf Astoria for nearly 30 years in the 1950s-1980s; he knew everyone from Cole Porter to Lana Turner and Ginger Rogers!
  • David Freeland, author of American Hotel: The Waldorf-Astoria and the Making of a Century.
  • John Clark, who purchased the dining room table in Cole Porter’s famous suite when it went up for auction, cementing his family’s long history and amazing memories of celebrating holidays at the hotel;
  • Kevin Ryan, whose father was Thomas Ryan, the Chief Operating Engineer for Thompson Starrett construction company who built WANY in 1931; 
  • Abbie Newman, who started her career in the housekeeping department at the Waldorf Astoria, and went on to become a highly-regarded personal concierge.  
  • Frank Caiafa, the former bar manager at the the famed Peacock Alley Bar, who had an epic run-in with “the Father of Rock n Roll” Chuck Berry
  • Jennifer Boccagno, who celebrated her wedding at the Waldorf Astoria and left a time capsule hidden behind a picture that was found during construction.
Waldorf Astoria crown towers
Image courtesy Waldorf Astoria New York

You can also learn even more about the Waldorf Astoria’s renaissance and restoration in an upcoming virtual talk we are hosting with Waldorf Astoria New York during the 90th birthday month. Join us for “Inside the Waldorf Astoria,” a free talk for Untapped New York Insiders. You can become a member today and get a free month with code JOINUS!

Sneak Peek of the Waldorf Astoria