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Cognac's Corner Magazine
Historian and Author of "The Algonquin Round Table New York Historical Guide" from Lyons Press poses for a photo-op with TV Host Cognac Wellerlane
TV Host Cognac Wellerlane poses for a photo-op with Jazz Musicians Dan Aran, Michael Arenella and Ana Lucia McGorty
TV Host C ognac Wellerlane poses for a photo-op with a party of Friends at the Historical Algonquin Hotel in Times Square Manhattan
TV Host Cognac Wellerlane poses for a photo-op toasting her Birthday Celebration at the Historical Algonquin Hotel
Patricia, Cognac, Helen and Cara pose for a photo-op at the Historical Algonquin Hotel in Times Square
TV Host Cognac Wellerlane and Stylist Patricia Parenti pose for a photo-op at the Historical Algonquin Hotel in Time Square for Cognac's Birthday Celebration
I recently visited the historic Algonquin Hotel located at 59 West 44th Street in Manhattan near Time Square for my birthday celebration.
The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection, is an AAA Four Diamond luxury hotel located just a block from the lights of Time Square and steps from Fifth Avenue shopping. This extraordinary hotel is one of the most distinct boutique hotels in the Midtown area thanks to their rich history and impeccable hospitality.
The Algonquin Hotel is a New York City Landmark. The hotel was designed by Goldwin Starrett and it opened in 1902. The hotel was planned as a residential hotel but was changed into a lodging establishment. Frank Case took over the hotel in 1907 and bought the property for $1 million. Frank Case was the owner and manager of the hotel until in 1946. Upon Frank Case’s death, the hotel was purchased by Ben Bodne. The hotel changed hands several times and in 2002 it ended up in the hands of Miller Global Properties. When the hotel opened in 1902, it had 174 rooms. The hotel is best known for housing some of the best literary and theatrical minds such as Poet and Critic Dorothy Parker. The most prominent of these geniuses was called the Algonquin Round Table. Frank Case, the hotel’s original owner established some of the hotel’s traditions. One of these traditions is to keep a cat. Male cats are named Hamlet and female cats are named Matilda.
During my evening I had the chance to chat with Historian and Author of "The Algonquin Round Table" Kevin C. Fitzpatrick.
Cognac: Hello darlings, I am Cognac Wellerlane and I am here at the historical Algonquin Hotel and I am here with Mr. Kevin C. Fitzpatrick who is a famous author and he recently published a book about the Algonquin Round Table.
Cognac: and it is all about the fabulous people of the day like Ms. Dorothy Parker who was a famous poet, she was also a critic.
Kevin: A critic, short story writer.....
Cognac: And she frequented this hotel and it is haunted with her entourage of famous writers, poets, and just famous people of the day. I am here with Kevin Fitzpatrick and he is going to talk about this book.
Kevin: Thank you for having me on.
Kevin: Well the book is called "The Algonquin Round Table New York Historical Guide" from Lyons Press and it's about thirty members of the Vicious Circle that met right where you are sitting in 1919.
Cognac: What fascinated you about this hotel and the people that came to this hotel to write the book.
Kevin: I am a fan of the Algonquin just as someone would be a fan of Yankee Stadium because I know the greats were here. This was ground zero for amazing writers, producers, actors, Broadway publicists and what not that came in here about ten years and to this day it still a literary landmark.
Cognac: You know what fascinated me about Dorothy Parker, like her I am a journalist, like her I do reviews, like her I also am a critic but amazingly Ms. Dorothy Parker died on my birthday which was June 7, 1967 and I was born June 7, 1957.
Kevin: Wow! That's incredible! Well you have a lot of other things in common too! She also spent a lot of time in Long Island...a lot of time in Broadway theaters and she liked a good time as well!
Cognac: Why did she love this hotel so much? What was so special about the Algonquin Hotel.
Kevin: It's very close to everything that was important to her. Her job was nearby, the theaters that she worked as a critic were nearby, her offices were nearby....she lived on the upper west side, that's where she grew up. She would take the train. It was very easy to get here because it was near Times Square. It was a very centrally located place and the speakeasies were close by too.
Cognac: Ah ha! The speakeasies from the 20's and 30's.
Kevin: They were on 49th Street where Rockefeller Center is today. The speakeasies were on 49th between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Cognac: But strangely and sadly enough as famous as she was she did not make a lot of money doing what she did. Isn't that true?
Kevin: No she didn't.
Cognac: Journalist don't. I don't make a lot of money either. People think that because I look so glamorous all the time.
Kevin: Well she made money in the 30's and 40's when she was working in Hollywood but she spent it as quickly as she made it. She like to say "Hollywood money isn't money. It's congealed snow, melts in your hand, and there you are.''
Cognac: Oh my God. I would say that myself! Sometimes I wonder those numbers do they mean something? 67, 57, June 7th... I don't know it's a little psychic don't you think?
Kevin: A funny thing about the end of her life is her very good friends were Gloria Vanderbilt and Wyatt Cooper.
Kevin: They were very important to her. She met Wyatt Cooper in California when he was working as a writer. He moved back to New York in the 60's with Vanderbilt and they really took her under their wing. They were very important to her and Gloria Vanderbilt in particular. When Dorothy Parker died, the reason Gloria couldn't go to her memorial service was because she just had baby and the baby was Anderson Cooper.
Cognac: Oh my God what a fascinating story.
Mr. Fitzpatrick went on to say how much he admired Ms. Dorothy Parker and what a good writer she really was. To find out more information about Historian Kevin Fitzpatrick please visit http://www.fitzpatrickauthor.com/ and to find out more about Dorothy Parker please visit http://dorothyparker.com
During the evening patrons were entertained by Jazz Singer and Musician Michael Arenella who spoke to me about how he was introduced to perform at the Algonquin Hotel.
Cognac: So tell me Michael I understand that you will be performing hear until the end of June.
Michael: Yes, We have one remaining Tuesday and we will also be here every Tuesday in July.
Cognac: Tell my audience what do you think about the Algonquin Hotel? What drew you to this place to perform every week?
Michael: Well the Algonquin is unmistakably a piece of New York history with the patchwork of New York's cultural literary heritage. You know Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald use to sit right over there at that round table!
Cognac: I know and I interviewed the manager and I said is this place haunted? Does she haunt this place? And he said yes, we think she does! What do you think? Do you think she haunts it?
Michael: I definately feel a presence here.
Cognac: an energy...
Michael: An energy of sorts!
Cognac: Tell my audience about the music that you perform here. I mean it's typical of the day back in the 20's when Dorothy Parker use to have dinner here.
Michael: Yes, well here its a hotel lobby so you don't want to do anything too exaggerated. It's got to be to scale so I am doing a jazz quartet.
Cognac: What kind of songs do you like to sing?
Michael: Jazz standards, the Great American Song Book, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hart, Duke Ellington, all the great tunes!
Mr. Arenella will be completing his run at the Algonquin Hotel until August and then he will be focusing his time coordinating his annual Jazz Age Lawn Festival on Governors Island in mid August. For more information about Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra please visit http://www.dreamlandorchestra.com/ and follow him on Facebook at Facebook/Michael Arenella.
After dinner I had the opportunity to interview Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage, Mr. John Lovitch.
Cognac: Introduce yourself to the camera.
John: I am the Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage here at the historic Algonquin Hotel.
Cognac: What a fabulous, fabulous hotel. Tell my audience how did you come to work here at the hotel? Tell my audience the history of how this all happened for you.
John: I have been here about a year. This place was actually part of Marriott's autograph collection and I came to work for Marriott just so I could get into a hotel like this because it is part of a big company and at the same time it operates as a uniquely independent historical place. It's just fabulous! I make menus out of old books, I use pages for cursors. Everything is literary themed. It is just a really fun place to be and it is so filled with history, romance and how could you not want to be the head chef here!
Cognac: So many stars have performed here at the Algonquin. Can you tell my audience some of the more important people that have sang and performed here.
John: Not even the singers and performers, it's like an endless list of places to be seen with celebrities. The other night Kim Cattrall from "Sex and the City" fame just came in to take a picture with the mural. We had tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg here like a month ago. Obviously the history and the 20's and 30's with Graucho Marx and Dorothy Parker......
Cognac: Oh that Dorothy Parker she haunts this place, that is for sure!
John: In a good way!
Cognac: She makes sure that you guys are doing what your suppose to do, making sure that everybody is being served well! She wants this place to stay open for another 100 years, maybe 200 years!
John: Dorothy Parker wants this place to stay open perpetually!
Mr. Lovitch also spoke to me about the famous and favorite dishes from their exquisite menu that patrons love to dine on including: Mom’s Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese, Buffalo Chicken Popovers, The Round Table Cobb, Brooklyn Lager Fish and Chips and I of coursed dined on the Bronzed Salmon which is combination of cast iron roast, crab butter, manchego rice and nutmeg brussels.
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