Hotel Online  Special Report


Author Combines History with Delicious Gossip
of the Colorful Golden Era of New York Hotels


New York - Aug. 1 2005 - "Life at the Top: Inside New York's Grand Hotels" (/ISBN-1-59393-O34-8/August 8, 2005) has no heroes, great history or noble purpose.  It's simply a masterpiece of storytelling.

Veteran Broadway columnist Ward Morehouse III (formerly with the New York Post and New York Sun, whose "Broadway After Dark" column currently appears in AM New York) chronicles the lives of some of the 20th Century's literary and artistic giants, many of whom made their permanent domicile at some of New York's grandest hotels, including The Waldorf-Astoria, Chelsea, St. Regis, Algonquin, Pierre, Astor, and Carlyle. 

He paints a unique portrait of their colorful, romantic and sometimes tragic lives during the golden era of New York hotels and theater, bringing the two worlds together in a work that reads like great fiction. 

The fast-paced volume reconfirms Morehouse's status as a superb chronicler of celebrity high life during the last century as well as one of our most engaging storytellers.

Among the many stories Mr. Morehouse relates in his forthcoming work: 

  • Novelist J.D. Salinger's life as a counter-intelligence agent during World War II working clandestinely with colleagues -- including a former New York Times reporter -- who would rendezvous in a nondescript room in the Dixie Hotel across from the Times.
  • How an elevator at the Carlyle Hotel almost accomplished what the CIA failed to do -- accidentally assassinate Cuba's Fidel Castro who was riding in it with the Soviet Union's Nikita Kruschev. 
  • How one of Times Square's' now-swankiest boutique hotels, the Casablanca on West 43rd Street, became the scene in 1913 when it was the old Metropole, of the nation's first "drive-by shooting," leaving gangster Rosy Rosenthal in a pool of blood on the sidewalk. 
  • How a notorious nightclub owner ("Big Julie") who lived at the San Carlos Hotel transformed a homeless waif into one of New York's top models.
  • How "White Christmas" co-star Rosemary Clooney spent one of her most magical Christmas times at The Plaza Hotel.
  • How the author's late father, legendary drama critic Ward Morehouse, kept a pet bear at The Plaza and two raccoons at The Algonquin.
  • How Broadway and Hollywood star Ann Miller used to flood her room at the Mayflower Hotel until she was practically stranded on her bed.
  • How the late Princess Diana felt so at home at the Carlyle Hotel and befriended by the staff, she wanted to live there permanently before she died tragically in Paris.
  • Artist Salvador Dali's nude revel in the wine cellar at the St. Regis Hotel.
  • Oil heiress and hotel tycoon Caroline Rose Hunt reveals the inside story of her foray into the New York hotel scene.
Some advance praise for the book includes the following comments: 

"There is no one more qualified to write about New York's grand hotels than Ward Morehouse III, having been reared in two of the grandest whose histories he would later write. An eminent theater columnist and feature reporter, Morehouse is able to bring the Big Apple's glamorous (or once glamorous) hostelries to life, mixing history with delicious gossip and amusing anecdotes that only an insider would be privy to. Luxury hotels provide a heightened sense of life and fun for the rich and famous as well as the ordinary guest, and Morehouse catches the excitement of the hotel as playground perfectly."

-- Frederick M. Winship, Critic-at-Large, United Press International 
Ward Morehouse III's fabulous take on New York's greatest hotels reads like the legendary stories of Damon Runyon. He breathes new life into these wonderful old metropolitan inns and the colorful characters that inhabited them.''
-- Bill Hoffmann, New York Post 
"Not since the great Ziegfeld has anyone assembled as glittering a cast as can be found in Ward Morehouse III's 'Life at the Top: Inside New York's Grand Hotels.'  It reads like heaven's guest-book."
-- Alan Farnham, Senior Editor, Forbes Magazine 
The New York Times SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW SECTION said this of Mr. Morehouse's book,  "The Waldorf-Astoria: America's Gilded Dream."
"The grand cities of the world have their grand hotels, the bed-and-breakfasts for the mighty and moneyed. Ward Morehouse III explores one of New York City's grandest in 'The Waldorf-Astoria: America¡¦s Gilded Dream' ... Morehouse writes of pleasures and scandals, of the hard facts of running a hotel and of its romance. The hotel comes off well in the hands of its appreciative Boswell." 

Neil Simon said this about Mr. Morehouse's book, "Inside the Plaza." 
"The Plaza has always been my favorite hotel in New York. After reading Ward Morehouse's delightful book, I now understand why.  It's as enjoyable as staying there in a room overlooking Central Park."


Mary Francis Duffy

Also See: Elad Properties Backs Down from Controversial Plan for the 805-room Plaza Hotel; Fewer Condos, More Hotel Rooms Provides Union with More Jobs Saved / April 2005
Thriving New York City Nightlife Scene Surveyed by Zagat; Current Most Popular Nightspot Is a Restaurant with a Bar - Pastis; Shut Down - the Fabled Spectrum where John Travolta Danced in Saturday Night Fever and the Oak Bar at the Plaza / June 2005

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