By: Patty Farmer
Publisher: Vantage Press
Publishing Date: March 2012
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 30, 2012
Calling this a memoir of the past is too vague. In fact, as readers get to the second page they soon learn this is far more like an ‘ode;’ a pure homage to a time that is sorely missed. For everyone who loves the past and wishes they could go back to New York City when the champagne flowed, celebrities mixed with the commoners, and The Plaza was the only place to be, this book offers it all.
The author is extremely lucky, and will be much-envied by many after they get a look at this. The Plaza was THE place to be once. Everyone (including young Eloise, if you remember those amazing books) wanted to be there. This iconic building brought music, stars and even more elegance to New York; and The Persian Room, located inside the mammoth architectural wonder drew in everyone from Cary Grant, Andy Williams, Joan Crawford, and many more unforgettable names. This particular author got her dream to live in The Plaza in an apartment on the eighth floor and went about her research to bring The Persian Room’s memories back to life. By throwing herself into the project and meeting with all types of celebrities who were once an integral part of the magical nights that happened there, she recorded their stories for everyone to enjoy.
Yes, a reader can sit and listen to these tales and look at the many photographs, and will wish they had a time travel device so they could head back to 1934 when it all began and sit there every night through 1975 when it all came to an end. Readers will be enthralled by everything from the stunning clothing that was worn to the “expensive” $.55 gin to the $.85 Mint Julep. The images will take readers into a world where Dinah Shore rehearsed, Eartha Kitt stunned a crowd and made them speechless, and Lucille Ball and Ethel Merman simply sat at a table and discussed life. A feeling will come over you and perhaps you will hear the clinking of champagne glasses, and see the smiles of a staff who was truly the ‘best of the best’ and catered to one and all.
Connie Stevens and Eddie Fisher met inside that monumental room, Patti Page brought in the cool crowd, and a story is told by Constance Towers regarding her ‘meet’ with Joan Crawford (the woman who certainly liked to be the center of attention). The only suggestion I have to voice is that many of these stories – including this one – would’ve been so much more wonderful if told in their entirety. Of course the book is based on The Persian Room, but these meetings and what these people had to say, whether discussing the iconic place or not, would have had readers positively drooling over the past.
This book ends in 1974, when a horrific recession came into play (talk about history repeating itself in the worst way). 1975 saw the ‘shuttering’ of this amazing night spot, although as everyone knows by now, the magic of the past and certainly The Plaza will never be diminished.
Quill Says: For any fan of the greatest City in the world this is truly not a gift, it’s a treasure.