Historic Hotels in New York City

Old Waldorf-Astoria


The Old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel consisted of two separate buildings located on Fifth Avenue, from 33rd to 34th streets. It was 314 feet high and contained 1,400 rooms. It soon became one of the most famous hotels in the United States. It was the the predecessor of the current Waldorf Astoria New York, on Park Avenue.

The original 13-story Waldorf Hotel opened its doors on March 14, 1893. It occupied the site of John Jacob Astor's mansion on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street. His son William Waldorf Astor put George Boldt in charge of the hotel.

The 16-story Astoria Hotel opened in November 1, 1897, on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. It was designed by the same architect of the Waldorf Hotel, with stone and brick cladding, steel frame and mansard roof. It was constructed by John Jacob Astor IV, William’s cousin. They finally agreed to connected the two buildings through a 300 foot marble corridor known as Peacock Alley. Then the two buildings became the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

On May 3, 1929, the Waldorf-Astoria closed its doors and it was razed in the same year to make way for construction of the Empire State Building. In 1931, a new and much bigger Waldorf-Astoria Hotel opened its doors on Park Avenue.

More: Interior design of the Old Waldorf-Astoria and the History of the Old Waldorf-Astoria


Old Waldorf-Astoria


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The Old Waldorf–Astoria in 1908 (vintage postcard by Rotograph Co.). The original Waldorf Hotel is on the left. Astoria is in the foreground.




The original Waldorf Hotel in 1893.


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The newly built Waldorf Hotel (to the left). Photograph published in 1893 in the King's Handbook of New York City, second edition. It had a frontage of 100 feet on Fifth Avenue and 250 feet on 33rd Street. It was 13 stories and 180 feet high. It had interior garden court with fountains and flowers, frescoes and stained glass. The Empire dining-hall was modeled after the grand salon in King Ludwig's palace at Munich. There was 15 public rooms, 450 guest rooms and 100 rooms allocated to servants.


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The old Waldorf-Astoria Ball Room in a vintage postcard, 1903.


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Banquet Hall at Hotel Waldorf, 1894. Print shows the interior of a dining room with several men sitting around a long table, standing to the left is Chauncey Depew with right hand raised in toast to President Grover Cleveland sitting across the table (illustration by Thomas & Wylie Lith. Co. Source: Library of Congress).


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Old Waldorf-Astoria


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