The Plaza: The Secret Life of Amer­i­ca’s Most Famous Hotel

  • From the Publisher
January 1, 2013

From the moment in 1907, when Alfred Van­der­bilt strode through the Plaza’s doors to become its first guest to the day in 2007, when a mys­te­ri­ous Russ­ian oli­garch bought the hotel’s largest pent­house, the white tow­er at the cor­ner of Cen­tral Park has radi­at­ed wealth and lux­u­ry. For some, the Plaza evokes images of F. Scott Fitzger­ald frol­ick­ing in the Pulitzer Foun­tain or Eloise pour­ing water down the mail chute. But there are also dark hid­den secrets: the mur­der per­pe­trat­ed by con­struc­tion work­ers build­ing the hotel, how Don­ald Trump bank­rupt­ed the Plaza, and how a dis­graced Indi­an tycoon once ruled the hotel from a jail cell in Del­hi. Read about Tru­man Capote’s Black and White Ball and The Bea­t­les’ first state­side vis­it, but also fol­low the mon­ey trail. Learn how rich dowa­ger wid­ows became the finan­cial life­line that saved the hotel dur­ing the Great Depres­sion, and how today for­eign bil­lion­aires trans­formed icon­ic guest rooms into con­do­mini­ums that shield their ill-got­ten gains.

With glam­our on the sur­face and strife behind the scenes, this is the sto­ry of how one hotel became a mir­ror, reflect­ing New York’s place at the cen­ter of the country’s cul­tur­al nar­ra­tive for over a century.

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