Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Manhattan, New York

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel Exterior

This is the true story of the origin of the famous Manhattan landmark, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

One stormy night many years ago, an elderly man and his wife entered the lobby of a small hotel in Philadelphia. Trying to get out of the rain, the couple approached the front desk hoping to get some shelter for the night.

“Could you possibly give us a room here?” the husband asked.

The clerk, a friendly man with a winning smile, looked at the couple and explained that there were three conventions in town during that time.

“All of our rooms are taken,” the clerk said. “But, I cannot send a nice couple like you out into the rain at one o’clock in the morning. Would you, perhaps, be willing to sleep in my room? It’s not exactly a suite, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night.”

When the couple declined, the young man pressed on. “Don’t worry about me; I’ll make out just fine,” the clerk told them with confidence and assurance.
 Rather hesitant, the couple agreed and stayed for the night.

The following morning as the elderly man paid his bill at the check-out counter, the man said to the helpful clerk, “You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe, someday, I’ll build one for you.”

The clerk looked at them amusingly and smiled. The three of them had a good laugh.

As the couple drove away, the elderly man agreed that the helpful clerk was indeed exceptional, as finding people who are both friendly and helpful is not easy.

Two years had passed. The clerk had almost forgotten about the incident when one morning he received a letter from the old man. The note recalled that stormy night and the old man enclosed a round-trip ticket to New York, asking the young man to pay them a visit.

The helpful clerk in the Philadelphia hotel obliged and one day took the trip to New York where the old man met him and led him to the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street in the fashionable commercial district of Manhattan. The old man casually pointed to a great new building right in the middle of town, a palace of reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers thrusting up to the sky. Rather an impressive structure.

“That,” said the older man, “is the hotel I have just built for YOU to manage.”

“You must be joking,” the young man said rather amazed.

“I can assure you I am not,” said the older man, a sly smile playing on his face.

The older man’s name was William Waldorf Astor, and the magnificent structure was the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, New York.

The young clerk who eventually became the first manager of Waldorf Astoria was George C. Boldt. This young hotel clerk from Philadelphia never foresaw the turn of events that would one day lead him to become the first manager of one of the world’s most glamorous, impressive hotels.

Royal Suite Master Bedroom

The Bible says that we are not to turn our backs on those who are in need, for we might be entertaining angels after all.

And remember:

Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than the things you acquire. – Author Unknown

4 thoughts on “Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Manhattan, New York

  1. martin chung

    This is a wonderful story and very inspirational. It is also uncommon for someone who can afford to build a hotel for this purpose.

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