From Mar­i­lyn to Mick

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Ms. Manka took us up to the mag­nif­i­cent ball­room on the 20th floor – two ad­di­tional floors were added in 1927. The ball­room fea­tures cloud-dap­pled, vaulted ceil­ings, orig­i­nal gilt chan­de­liers, and stun­ning views over Fifth Av­enue and Cen­tral Park. The ball­room re­flects another time, a snap­shot of re­fined el­e­gance, though one won­ders how re­fined it would have been dur­ing Mick Jag­ger’s 29th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions in 1972 which con­cluded around 6am the fol­low­ing day. Ap­par­ently the pro­ceed­ings in­cluded a cake dec­o­rated with a not-overly dressed woman. The myth­i­cal leg­end of a ho­tel are cre­ated by the guests, and if only the cor­ri­dors of The St. Regis New York could be con­vinced to talk. The guest regis­ter has in­cluded names like Di­et­rich, Bog­art, Hem­ming­way, Hitch­cock, Jackie Kennedy, and Lennon who recorded a demo of Happy Xmas (War Is Over) in his room. There was also the in­fa­mous in­ci­dent be­tween Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe and Joe DiMag­gio in 1954. Mon­roe had been film­ing The Seven Year Itch in NYC and an ar­gu­ment over that iconic

scene in­volv­ing a sub­way grate and a white dress started on set and es­ca­lated into suite 1105. Ev­ery win­ter from 1934, Sal­vador Dali, his wife Gala and pet ocelot Babou would oc­cupy Room 1610, a suite with an ad­join­ing stu­dio. Dali would hold court in his ‘rési­dence d’hiver en St. Regis’, wear­ing a cape made of dead bees, greet­ing vis­i­tors in­clud­ing Andy Warhol from his seven-foot chair, perched on the backs of four tur­tles. As one does. One can only imag­ine Dali and his won­der­fully bizarre en­tourage sweep­ing into the trea­sured King Cole Bar – where bar­tender Fer­nand Pe­tiot served Amer­ica’s first Bloody Mary to Rus­sian prince Serge Obolen­sky in 1934 – with the cen­tre­piece the won­der­ful nine-me­ter-wide mu­ral Old King Cole cre­ated by Max­field Par­rish in 1906 adorn­ing the back wall. Know­ing all the se­crets, gos­sip and in­trigue of The St. Regis New York, maybe that is why Old King Cole has a smirk on his face. How­ever, that’s another story.





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