Friday, October 25, 2013

Haunted Manhattan: The Algonquin Hotel. Coffin Hop 2013

Manhattan has its fair share of old, scary buildings; yet, in this town being old and scary doesn't mean  a place can't be glamorous. The Algonquin Hotel sits in the heart of the city, surrounded by Broadway, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center. Designated as a Historic Hotel of America by the National Trust of Historic Preservation, from its earliest days in 1902, The Algonquin has been the preferred meeting site for celebrities and literary masters alike.

By the 1920s a group of literary luminaries met daily for lunch at The Algonquin's Round Table, among them Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Franklin Pierce, Robert Sherwood, Harpo Marx, Alexander Woollcott, Harold Ross, George S. Kauffman, Heywood Broun, Marc Connelly, and Edna Ferber. This group, known as "The Vicious Circle", cemented the hotel's fame for centuries to come.

As the country sank into the difficult years of the Great Depression, the hotel owner, who'd always had a soft spot for celebrities, let struggling writers eat for free. The rumor got around, and soon big names like William Faulkner were adding to the place's mystique. It is said that Faulkner wrote the first draft of his 1950 Nobel Prize acceptance speech while at the Algonquin.

And so, it is only logical that after so many fates where directed from the tables of the Hotel's restaurant, and so many golden days were spent within its wall, that some of its former visitors decided to stay. Forever.

Reports range from paranormal singing in the elevator, noises of furniture being dragged across the recently renovated room on the 13th floor, sightings of Dorothy Parker in the bar, and ghostly steps on the staircase.

So, what happened to me?

Well, nothing, besides a lovely lunch with my husband. We went there during the summer, enjoying of a rare change to go out by ourselves since the girls were in Mexico with my parents. I insisted on eating at the famous Round Table, asked the waiter about the story of the place, and snooped around.

The Algonquin Hotel is a place steeped in history and I felt a special connection to it since I'm myself a struggling writer. And even though no preternatural figures visited us, we couldn't avoid to feel under the shadow of some of the greatest minds ever.

For a chance to win a copy of DEATH BY DRIVE-IN, the Coffin Hop anthology, tell me about an experience that made you re-evaluate your position in history. The winner will be selected randomly from the comments, and announced here on my next post.

Don't forget to stop by the rest of the participating blogs!


Chris Fries said...

"...tell me about an experience that made you re-evaluate your position in history."

Dang. I don't know if I've ever had such an experience... I've never really considered 'my place in history'. I'm not famous and have never sought it.

OK -- I write and I putz around on the guitar, and I'd love for people to enjoy what I make, and maybe for some of it to stick around at least in some way long after I'm gone. And I volunteer at a grief center for kids and I hope I'm helping them in some way as they go forward with their lives. And of course, I have my own stepkids and granddaughter, and I hope I've touched their lives.

So I guess that does mean I'm casting my own teeny-tiny pebbles into the pool of time, hoping to make a little ripple.

But other than that, I doubt I'll have any sort of "place in history", so I've never really had to re-evaluate it.

Does my rambling non-answer still count as a valid entry into the random drawing? If so, that would be great! In fact, it would be so awesome and fabulous and moving, that it might even cause me to re-evaluate my place in history!

Michelle Muto said...

Can't say I've ever given it much thought. Thanks for the story, though!

A. F. Stewart said...

A lovely, spooky bit of history.

Anonymous said...

What a cool post! I've never heard of the Algonquin hotel, but it sounds like an interesting place to visit. What a history! I don't think I have a place like that or such a story to share, but I enjoyed reading yours. Thanks for sharing.

Yolanda Renee said...

Oh dear, my place in history. I want to be the one member of my family that did something to be remembered for - all good! I want to find my books on a bookshelf 100 years from now. I want to be discussed as a writer - with what and why did she write this. I originally feared I would be like Margaret Mitchell and only have one book = now I have two and am working on a third, with several more in the wings. Now if I can only figure out how to get them into the hands of the readers I might achieve that goal. LOL

Penelope Crowe said...

I don't think I have a place yet except for possibly world's worst cook.
Ill have to work on it!
Happy hopping!!

Jolie du Pre said...

"...tell me about an experience that made you re-evaluate your position in history."

That's a difficult question. I believe the horror movies I've watched has set me on the course I am today - to be a horror/paranormal romance author.

Lori Parker BookwormPOV said...

I was walking to my business law class at college one Monday night in 2002. The ground was flat and even. I was paying attention to my surroundings. Then, I fell. I did not trip; I simply collapsed on the sidewalk. My friends freaked. I freaked. I couldn't feel my legs. I wouldn't walk for more than six months. But the physical therapy and pain gave me time to contemplate my life. I thought about where I'd been, where I was, and where I was headed. I also thought about where I "wanted" to be. My path was altered for a reason. I may still carry lingering problems from years ago, but the experiences of the last decade have made me stronger and wiser. I saw first-hand how one person can make a difference by helping someone else. I know how much one kind word can do on those darkest days. So, I won't ever be a famous politician or movie star, but I will be the best "me" that I can. I will reach a helping hand and an open heart out to others in need. I am content to be the grease in the machine, and not a major winding cog. Because, if I help someone, and that person helps someone, and that person's person helps someone, I will have changed history.

Ash Krafton | @ashkrafton said...

My “place in history”. Odd you’d use that particular phrase because that’s where I always felt I belonged. Somewhere…back.

Not that I can point out one particular episode. More like a long series of coincidences and resonances and moments when I felt like I was remembering something upon the first time experiencing it. Why do I connect so strongly with certain cultures and particular time periods? Some things are too familiar to me, although my contemporary upbringing had none of those familiar elements.

I always felt there is something to the idea of reincarnation. People are spirits, little clusters of energy. Why do ghosts visit the living? They are memories of psychic energy. And if psychic energy can echo on as the dead, why not through life, as well?

As a scientist, I know that matter can be neither created nor destroyed. As a “spiritualist”, I believe the same about life and the energy that sustains it.

Georgina Morales said...

Thanks to all for going along with this little game and for your nice comments about the story.

@Chris: I think helping someone is the best way to leave a mark in history. Either by educating and loving your own kids, or by making a difference in the live of others. We may never be mentioned in a history book, but you never know how far reaching are the consequences of good deeds. =)

@Yolanda: There are many, so many writers that were never recognized in their time. As long as the written word lives, so will your name!

@Penelope: Ha! You and me, sister!

@Jolie: Isn't it funny how every small detail counts to molding us into our present and future selves?

@Lori: WOW! What an experience. Hard times always help us put things in their real perspective. I find fascinating how you turned something so difficult into a great lesson of life. You are amazingly strong. Congrats on being such a force of change!

@Ash: I too believe in some forme of reincarnation, though I don't have any memories of a distant life. Still, I love to hear stories of those who actually remember, and I'd love to hear yours!

ringois said...

I was in a terrible MVA that should have killed me,and it made me wonder why I was spared, and what I am meant to do to make my mark in history. Still not sure, but sure glad I was spared to get to have grandkids! Maybe the reason is yet to come...

Lexa Cain said...

I'm having such a good time reading your Haunted Manhattan series. I dreamed of living in NYC before I moved there and loved it when I did. It's a wonderful city full of everything, including ghosts!

I don't remember a specific time where I thought about my place in history. I'm pretty sure I don't have one. When I pass, no one will be the wiser, and I'm OK with that. I'm just having a great time with the years I have before I "shuffle off the mortal coil."

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hey, Georgina. It's good to see you. What a cool story! I'm bummed now. I was in NYC in 2011 and was all over that area, and may have even walked right by that building and didn't know anything about it. Next time I'm there, I'll keep one eye out for it - and another behind me to make sure nothing sneaks up on me. ;)
Happy Hopping!


Deniz Bevan said...

That' still a great story, if only cos I'm envious - I'd like to eat - or even stay - at the Algonquin someday!

Deniz Bevan said...

Fun idea for a blog hop!

Cait OSullivan said...

How great to have such history surrounding you. William Faulkner, wow. Nice story thank you :)

DarcNina said...

The Algonquin, a fabulous place!

Sariah said...

Yikes. I think I would rather stay at a place like the Tribeca Hotel rather than a haunted hotel!