Palaces Of The People


“Nanny likes her coffee hot hot hot,” corroborated Eloise, the character created by Kay Thompson in 1955. Eloise was a little girl who lived at the Plaza; in hotel expertise, Eloise is the Plaza’s answer to the Waldorf Manuals. The Plaza Hotel opened in 1907, an improbable French château that dominates a neighborhood as no other New York hotel does, making it hard to tell where exactly the plaza out front ends and the Plaza takes up.

The last time I stopped at the Plaza, people were just everywhere in the small, elegant rooms: dining, checking in, checking out, keeping appointments, buying tickets, looking at maps, and rushing to meetings. Altogether it was too crowded. I could hardly wait to get to my room, have it all to myself, and order something cold cold cold from room service. A bellboy took the suitcases and my key and held the elevator doors open for me. I tried not to rush as I followed him in, but I turned around with a jolt just as the doors were about to meet. It didn’t last long, but it was a glimpse of the Tremont House in all its glory.