Tag Archives: Algonquin Hotel

Presenting the Algonquin Round Table: The wits of New York’s Jazz Age

PODCAST The enduring legacy of the Algonquin Round Table and the brilliant (and sometimes forgotten) people who made it famous.

One June afternoon in the spring of 1919, a group of writers and theatrical folk got together at the Algonquin Hotel to roast the inimitable Alexander Woollcott, the trenchant theater critic for the New York Times who had just returned from World War I, brimming with dramatically overbaked stories.

The affair was so rollicking, so engaging, that somebody suggested — “Why don’t we do this every day?”

And so they did. The Algonquin Round Table is the stuff of legends, a regular lunch date for the cream of New York’s cultural elite. In this show, we present you with some notable members of the guest list — including the wonderful droll Dorothy Parker, the glibly observant Franklin Pierce Adams and the charming Robert Benchley, to name but a few.

But you can’t celebrate the Round Table from a recording studio so we head to the Algonquin to soak in the ambience and interview author Kevin C. Fitzpatrick about the Jazz Age’s most famous networking circle.

Are you ready for a good time? “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.” — Dorothy Parker

To get this week’s episode, simply download it for FREE from iTunes or other podcasting services or get it straight from our satellite site.

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Or listen to it straight from here:


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At top: The gorgeous modern painting by artist Natalie Ascencios which hangs over the spot where the original Round Table once sat.

A few members of the Round Table including Art Samuels, Charles MacArthur, Harpo Marx, Dorothy Parker, and Alexander Woollcott

The Algonquin, as seen in the year 1907….



…..and 30 years later, in 1937.

A 1906 advertisement in Brooklyn Life extolling the virtues of the Pergola Room (where the first group of Round Tablers first met) at the Algonquin Hotel.

Brooklyn Life, April 7, 1906

An ad featuring hotel manager Frank Case:

April 28, 1906

A couple stories of drama from the Algonquin’s early days:

Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY, Feb 14, 1909
Evening World, August 5, 1911

Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper which fostered the talents of several who would end up sitting around the Round Table.

A few members of the Round Table, as featured on the show….

Alexander Woollcott

Franklin Pierce Adams

Dorothy Parker


Edna Ferber and George F. Kaufman


Ruth Hale

Robert Benchley

Robert Sherwood

Harold Ross and Jane Grant


‘Mad Men’ returns: a guide to eating (and drinking) options

Drama for dinner: ‘Mad Men’ meals go down best with fifteen cocktails

AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ returns for its fifth season this March. Until somebody goes ahead and develops a TV show about Peter Stuyvesant and New Amsterdam, the award-winning Madison Avenue drama is the closest we’ll get to straight-up New York City history TV. The writers cleverly embed the action within very specific 60s locations throughout the city. During the season I try and delve into those locations in our regular ‘Mad Men’ feature

So what, then, to make ofThe Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside The Kitchens, Bars and Restaurants of Mad Men’, by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin? My first thought, naturally, was, “They eat on ‘Mad Men’?” They certainly flirt over dinners at times. Carla, the Draper’s housekeeper, tortures over hot meals that often get uneaten as Betty sulks and Don swallows down bourbon.

But ‘Mad Men’ is a show of lounges and restaurants, of decorum and indulgence, adrift in a rising stream of booze. It’s also a show of dizzying, if cynical, nostalgia. And that’s the secret of this fun little volume. The particular dishes featured in the book may have been seen or mentioned on the show. But the recipes themselves are straight from the kitchens of New York’s most famous eateries and from original 1960s magazines and cookbooks.

The authors frame each dish within the context of a certain episode. For instance, a recipe on gazpacho and rumaki is prefaced with the description of Season 2, Episode 8, the episode where Betty presents dishes from around the world to her guests (including, you may remember, the at-the-time somewhat exotic Heineken beer.)

The recipes aren’t from Betty’s kitchen, but from actual 1960s magazine articles. Sources include ‘The Kennedy Style’, a 1962 Ebony Magazine cookbook, the 1960’s ‘How America Eats’, among a great many others. Original dishes from New York’s great restaurants make an appearance here too — steak tartar and hearts of palm salad from Sardi’s, fettuccine alfredo from Angelo’s, chicken Kiev from the Russian Tea Room, Caesar salad from Keens Steakhouse, and of course, the original Waldorf salad and sold Amandine from the Waldorf=Astoria.

Betty Crocker, Julia Child, Amy Vanderbilt — all the icons of 60s cuisine and ettiquete are represented. Naturally, this means that few dishes are heart healthy. Butter and red meat are a defining theme.

A more classic selection of original New York recipes has perhaps never been assembled. One might squabble over the fact that most of this has nothing much to do with ‘Mad Men’ itself. But let that slide, relax and have a drink from the guide’s cocktail menu, featuring the how-tos on such classic sips as the Stork Club Cocktail, the 21 Club Bloody Mary and the Classic Algonquin Cocktail (whiskey, vermouth and pineapple juice), all sourced from the original establishments.

I was a sucker for this kind of retro mixology back in the days of the ’90s retro ‘bachelor pad’ craze, and ‘The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook’ could fit right in with your old Esquivel CDs. But this is an entertaining collection of New York recipes, well-researched, and ready for your weekend soirees and viewing parties..

Podcast Rewind: Spooky Stories of New York

Above: the Algonquin Hotel, home to those bawdy rakes of the Round Table during the 1920s. You may find yourself meeting one of them even today.

A special illustrated version of our ghost-story podcast, Spooky Stories of New York (Episode #65). is now available on our NYC History Archive feed. Just hit play and images of our topic will appear on any compatible media player

By popular demand, we return to the creepier tales of New York City history, ghost tales and stories of murder and mayhem, all of them at some point involving great American icons — Alexander Hamilton, P.T. Barnum, Dorothy Parker and Mark Twain. Featuring a murder at a Manhattan well, a bloody slaying in rural Staten Island, the lingerings of New York’s most fabulous undead, and the most haunted home in Greenwich Village!

Download it for FREE from iTunes or other podcasting services, or you can listen to the cleaned up audio version (without visuals) right here: Spooky Stories of New York

Original version released Oct. 10, 2008. Picture above courtesy the New York Public Library/Wurts Brothers.

AND ARRIVING THIS FRIDAY: Our fifth annual ‘haunted’ podcast, retelling famous folklore and stories of the supernatural, all with a basis in actual New York City history. Our prior shows include the one listed above, as well as the original Ghost Stories of New York, Haunted Tales of New York, and last year’s Supernatural Stories of New York.

PODCAST: Spooky Stories of New York

The Algonquin Hotel: the hippest haunt for the dead writer set

By popular demand, we return to the creepier tales of New York City history, ghost tales and stories of murder and mayhem, all of them at some point involving great American icons — Alexander Hamilton, P.T. Barnum, Dorothy Parker and Mark Twain.

Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE

The Manhattan Bistro in SoHo hides a ghastly secret behind it — site of the Manhattan well, and the murder of Elma Sands

14 West 10th Street, the most haunted brownstone in the Village

A macabre newspaper depiction of Polly Bodine, the ‘Witch of Staten Island’, fleeing from the burning bodies of her victims Emeline and Ana Eliza Housman

Our Ghost Stories of New York podcast from last year:

Starting next week on iTunes, our old episodes will be available for download, re-edited and with far great audio quality. Look for the feed titled ‘Bowery Boys Archive’ on Tuesday.