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This is a tale of two legends: The Algonquin Hotel and the artist, Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003). If you plan to be in New York City this summer (before August 8th), go take a walk through the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel (a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel)! You won’t be disappointed!
The Algonquin Hotel is a historic, landmark hotel on 44th Street in Manhattan – just steps away from Fifth Avenue, the Theater District, Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center, and Radio City Music Hall, to name a few. Opened in 1902, it is known for hosting literary and theatrical notables, most notably the members of the Algonquin Round Table aka the “Vicious Circle.” I’ve always been a huge fan of Dorothy Parker, one such member.
And then, there’s the legendary artist Al Hirschfeld. Who doesn’t know Al Hirschfeld? I remember, in my youth, excitedly looking through his drawings of famous celebrities in the New York Times, and trying to find the hidden NINAs.
So, when I received a Press Release announcing that Al Hirschfeld’s art would be on display in the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel this summer, I had to go see it. The Press Release states, in part:
Fans of caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, who was well known for his black-and-white portraits of celebrities and Broadway stars, will be able to enjoy a unique exhibit of his work beginning May 23rd in the legendary Lobby Lounge of The Algonquin Hotel.
In collaboration with the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, “The Algonquin Hotel Celebrates The Tonys As Seen By Hirschfeld” exhibit will open on May 23rd — just prior to the Tony Awards taking place June 11th — and will run through August 8, 2017. . .
Hirschfeld, whose artwork graced the pages of The New York Times and many other publications, was actually a frequent visitor to the infamous Algonquin Round Table and knew and worked with many of its members, sketched the famous portrait of Dorothy Parker and her cohorts back in 1962.
Lucky for me, I was invited to a little birthday soiree on June 21st, in honor of the artist’s birthday:
I arrived and looked around this iconic, beautiful lobby. I was suddenly transformed to another time, another era. Hirschfeld’s caricatures lined the lobby. I ran around trying to identify each Broadway show and actor that was portrayed! My only regret was that the pictures were not at eye level.
The fact sheet alone was worth the trip!
The gathering was attended by many in the theatre and art world, including David Leopold, the Creative Director of the Hirschfeld Foundation, and a walking encyclopedia of everything Hirschfeld. Various family members and friends of the artist were also present.
The prosecco was nice, but the cupcakes were the most awesome cupcakes I’ve ever seen! How many famous people do you recognize?
You KNOW I grabbed the Beatles cupcake!!
I could rave about this forever, but I’ll leave you with the elevators. Yes, the elevators! Hello Dolly and Sunset Boulevard. Carol Channing and Glenn Close.
Simply magical, isn’t it?
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