The account of one vaunted New York City address that has become synonymous with wealth and scandal, opportunity and tragedy.
From the moment in 1907 when New York millionaire Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt strode through the Plaza Hotel's revolving doors to become its first guest, to the afternoon in 2007 when a mysterious Russian oligarch paid a record price for the hotel's largest penthouse, the eighteen-story white marble edifice at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street has radiated wealth and luxury.
For some, the hotel evokes images of F. Scott Fitzgerald frolicking in the Pulitzer Fountain, or Eloise, the impish young guest who pours water down the mail chute. But the true stories captured in THE PLAZA also include dark, hidden secrets: the cold-blooded murder perpetrated by the construction workers in charge of building the hotel, how Donald J. Trump came to be the only owner to ever bankrupt the Plaza, and the tale of a disgraced Indian tycoon who, having never even slept at the Plaza, buys the hotel anyway, then proceeds to rule over it from his jail cell in Delhi.
“Readers will happily soak up period details and take notes on how the stalwart staff dealt with class snobbery, prohibition and gangsters, wartime privations, the turbulent 1960s, wealthy dowagers, blushing debutantes, persistent groupies, omnipresent prostitutes, and brawling Indian billionaires. This is social history at its best: thoughtful, engaging, and lots of fun.”
— Booklist (STARRED review)
In this definitive history, award-winning New York Times journalist Julie Satow not only pulls back the curtain on Truman Capote's Black and White Ball and The Beatles' first stateside visit -- she also follows the money trail. THE PLAZA reveals how, during the Great Depression, it was a handful of rich, dowager widows who were the financial lifeline that saved the hotel, and how foreign money and the anonymous shell companies of today have transformed the iconic guest rooms into condominiums shielding ill-gotten gains -- hollowing out parts of the hotel as well as the city around it.