Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Grand Dame of Madison Avenue - the Roosevelt Hotel

The Roosevelt Hotel New York City – The Grand Dame of Madison Avenue – is a wonderful hotel, with a location exceeded only by the friendliness and helpfulness of the hotel staff. At the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and 45th Street, the hotel features a beautiful lobby and lounge where hundreds of guests relax, recharge and come and go through a day and night in the city.

On President Theodore Roosevelt’s 151st birthday, I was delighted to greet guests from around the world and around the country as they arrived at the iconic Manhattan hotel.
Built in 1924, the hotel was famous for broadcasting Guy Lombardo’s New Years Eve concert heard round the world on radio. Now the Roosevelt Grill is a beautiful restaurant at the northeast corner of the lobby floor. As one ascends a split level staircase towards the Roosevelt Grill, one sees a massive bronze relief with T.R. shown as a Western cowboy on horseback, waving a farewell with his cowboy hat, headed for a trail ride in the mountains beyond his shoulder.

The Long, Long Trail is a treasure of a work. Sculpted by James Earl Fraser and based on the drawing of J.N. “Ding” Darling, the Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist, the work was completed in 1922. The original 1919 drawing by Darling was a gift to Mrs. Edith Roosevelt, T.R.’s widow. As a cartoon, the Long, Long Trail was published around the world. After serving with the famed naturalists Aldo Leopold and Thomas Beck on the 1934 Committee for Wildlife Restoration, Darling went on to serve eighteen months as President Franklin Roosevelt’s Director of the Biological Survey. Darling initiated the Duck Stamp program which is such a vital source of funding for wildlife conservation efforts, even drawing the first duck stamp. Later, Darling would join others to found the National Wildlife Federation. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida, was set aside in his honor.

James Earl Fraser was a pre-eminent American sculptor, famous for the 1913 buffalo nickel and the 1915 End of the Trail. In 1932, Fraser created the Theodore Roosevelt equestrian sculpture that still presides over the eastern entrance to the American Museum of Natural History.

Heading past the Long, Long Trail to the grille, one can dine beneath TR’s gaze from any of a dozen interesting photos and paintings. In the Madison Club Lounge, still more photos and paintings, including a handsome painted portrait of Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt of the First United States Cavalry, known to history as the Rough Riders.

For a Theodore Roosevelt fan, the Roosevelt Hotel is full of history. For the traveler to New York, on business or pleasure, the Roosevelt Hotel is a wonderful place to stay. Check out to see this beautiful hotel.

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