Sunday, February 3, 2013


The "Old" Waldorf Astoria

Gorgeous Effects to be Created by
Small for Mrs. Bradley Martin,
They  Will  Be  Used  in Profusion—
Small Ballroom Will Have No
Set Piece—Canopies in
Large Ballroom. The New York Times - February 3, 1897

  Decorations for the Bradley Martin ball at the Waldorf will be under the charge of Florist Small(?). The entire scheme has been devised to meet the ideas of the hostess, and the floral dream, when realized, will be rich in profusion and exquisite in taste. Guests will enter through the private apartments of the Waldorf manager, Mr, Boldt, to the first floor of the hotel proper, passing through five of Mr. Boldt's rooms, where there will be no attempt whatever at decoration. Thence they will proceed to the corridors on the second floor, where fifteen rooms, including the Astor dining room, will be used for dressing apartments. 

Black and white photograph depicting a portrait of George C. Boldt, who opened the Waldorf in March 1893, the Astoria in 1897, and operated the original Waldorf=Astoria until his death on December 5th, 1916. This portrait was painted by Boris Bernhard Gordon in 1916, and now hangs in the South Lounge of The Waldorf=Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue.

  Even here there will be no pretense of wall decorations, but the tables, mantels, etc., will contain superb vases filled with a profusion of flowers to harmonize with the color scheme. The endeavor will be to make these rooms simply attractive and domelike. The decorations proper will be seen by the guests us they descend from these apartments to the first floor. They will face a  mammoth mirror solidly framed in Beauty roses. At the foot of the stairs they will turn to the right, at the entrance to the small ballroom, where they will meet the hostess. She will be on a low dais and beneath a large canopy of rare tapestries, which are to be brought from the Bradley Martin mansion.

THE ASTOR DINING ROOM is located over the same spot as that occupied by the dining room in the old Astor mansion. The ceiling and woodwork, while the old building was being demolished, were preserved and afterwards placed in this room; likewise the old mantel, furniture, draperies and paintings.
Caroline (Mrs. William B.) Astor residence. 1856, southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 54th Street, New York City, with the A. T. Stewart residence at right.

  The small ballroom will be set through-out with furniture of the Louis XV. period, and the walls will be hung with tapestry draperies. Here the floral effect will be superb. Not a set piece of any kind will be visible. The idea is to make the floral display harmonize with the old-time styles in flowers. There will be a wild riot of roses, mixed in color. Roses will be hurled en-masse against the draperies, and will remain where they catch in the folds. The side of this room, where the Hungarian band is to be stationed, will be completely concealed by long-stemmed roses, and the most gorgeous garlands, drooping from the centre high up, will radiate to each side and over the mirrors, giving to the scene a warm and festal effect. There will be roses galore everywhere of every conceivable shade and variety.

The Small Ballroom

  From this salon the guests are to pass to the corridors or small hallways, that will be mimic woodland bowers, completely covered with green and lit by tiny incandescent  lamps.   Through this sylvan lane the main ballroom will be reached. Upon entering the guests will face a wall in which fifteen immense mirrors are embedded to the depth of about three feet. From the wall above each mirror will hang gorgeous festoons of Souzet garlands(?), entwined with the plemousa vine(?) and a lavish display of mauve orchids. These decorations, pendent to the sides of each mirror along and around the walls, will be above the guests seated, and will serve as a floral canopy. All the candelabra at the sides are to have pendent from them large pouches of blue silk, bursting with pink roses. The far side of this room, the musicians' balcony, will be concealed by a wealth of pink roses. Garlands innumerable will seem to hang in clusters from the curves and posts above. Beneath this balcony will be sylvan vistas of clematis—green-covered flirtation nooks.

THE GRAND BALL ROOM. 100 feet square and 40 feet high. This magnificent room had twenty-five first tier and eighteen second tier boxes, and could be arranged at short notice either as a ball room, concert room, dining room or private theatre. The ceiling was painted by Blashfield, and is believed to be the largest single canvas in the world. 

  The cafe and the court will be decorated, but not with any ostentation. A homelike effect is the thing chiefly desired. Each of the 125 tables, only meant to accommodate six guests, will be adorned with a superb centrepiece of Beauty roses, but beyond this no floral splendors will be attempted.

The Cafe

North Palm Court

  Click HERE to read the news from February 1, 1897.

1 comment:

  1. Great post.

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