Bookmark: Time & Again by Jack Finney. It’s a time travel story that takes place in (where else?) New York. Finney has such a talent for stringing together descriptions of New York, architecture and what the city was like in 1882 that it pops into your mind’s eye so quickly that it’s like you were right there. The book even makes you google “Statue of Liberty Arm”. Actually, google that now. Trust me, it’s a cool story.
I’m always hesitant to write about places in cities that are major tourist hubs – and what is more quintessentially touristy than New York City? Apart from the city itself, there are so may iconic landmarks with fantastic origin stories.
I’ll be honest though. New York isn’t for me. I’ll never say “hmm where in the world do I want to go this year?” and decide on New York. There are too many other places that sing their siren song (which lures my bank account balance to its death). However, when there are people in your life that are in or will be in New York, you find yourself there reasonably often, with a pretty packed and unique itinerary.
I think that what I like the most about New York is the architecture, and the Plaza is a great example of this, but I’m not some fancy Architecture nerd, okay? My first association with the hotel is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. That’s where Kevin stays and a substantial part of the story takes place. It’s practically its own character in the movie. After that, I know that the children’s series Eloise takes place there but that’s literally all I know about it. I know it’s featured in practically countless other films and books because according to Hollywood, most things happen in New York. Apparently.
It’s symbol as wealth and opulence has persevered through the decades and it shows up even today, from the crystal chandeliers to the intricately designed stained glass dome, a design reminiscent of the hotel’s original dome which deteriorated over the years and was eventually destroyed. Apparently only three shards of glass from the original ceiling remain.
Opened in 1907, the Plaza Hotel has official Landmark status by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1969 and in 1986 it was it was designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL). In 2005, specific rooms themselves, including the Palm Court Restaurant, were given individual landmark status.
Breakfast is served in the Palm Court, a restaurant in the hotel offering Afternoon Tea service almost since its opening. It underwent a huge renovation to incorporate additional meal services, and to incorporate a new, updated design reminiscent of Central Park.
If I had stayed at the Plaza the night before my breakfast, I would have dropped a cool $895 minimum on the room for the evening, or I could have upped my game to the most expensive suite at $3535. I mean for $3535, your suite has two bathrooms AND a Butler service. So I guess…priorities?
Breakfast was, as expected, fancy as sh!t. The only shared complaint from us was that the website makes it seem like there’s a reasonably strict dress code (smart casual) – and after stumbling in with my fancy heels and dress, we came across people in shorts and crocs. Don’t get me wrong – slippers are my footwear of choice, but if you’re not going to at least semi-enforce the code, at least mention it somewhere please? As a tourist, it would have made our travel around that much easier. Instead, I ended up schlepping my slippers separately and still going back to our hotel to change since walking around with heels poking out of my bag would have been even more stressful. Sigh. Fashion.
Anyway. In a city overflowing with iconic landmarks, places to eat and things to see, having breakfast at the Plaza was a pretty cool experience. The coffee was great and the bill wasn’t ridiculous. At least I didn’t spend $967 on room service….Kevin!!!