The happiest I ever was when I was a child was at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Now, I don’t think a hotel is supposed to be the happiest place in anyone’s childhood. Unless you are the heroine in a Kay Thompson story, in which case I wandered into the wrong hotel. I think I should be able to fudge my happiest childhood memory a bit, and say that I was happiest at F.A.O. Schwartz or in Central Park—though I don’t recall spending much time at either of those places.
But I can go back to the first time I walked into the Waldorf. I was 4, accompanying my parents, who were in New York for the Canadian Society Ball. (We lived in Chicago.) As soon as we walked into the lobby my nanny said, “Well, this is heaven.” Because I was 4, I took her literally. I was sitting on a chair by the H. Stern jewelry shop, and there was a necklace in the window that was a rainbow of gemstones. In the lobby was a flower arrangement I still remember as the largest and most perfect I have ever seen. Someone mentioned that there was never a night when there was not a party in the ballroom. Read More