When the Astors Owned New York Blue Bloods and Grand

When the Astors Owned New York Blue Bloods and Grand Hotels in a Gilded Age ❮Reading❯ ➶ When the Astors Owned New York Blue Bloods and Grand Hotels in a Gilded Age Author Justin Kaplan – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk This newest book by Pulitzer Prize winner Justin Kaplan is a sparkling combination of biography social history architectural appreciation and pure pleasure Endowed with the largest private fortunes of This newest Astors Owned ePUB ↠ book by Pulitzer Prize winner Justin Kaplan is a sparkling combination of biography social history architectural appreciation and pure pleasure Endowed with the largest private fortunes of their day two heirs of arch capitalist John Jacob Astor battled with each other for social primacy William Waldorf Astor born and his cousin John Jacob Astor IV born led incomparably privileged lives in the blaze of public attention Novelist sportsman and inventor John Jacob went down with the Titanic after turbulent marital adventures and service When the ePUB í in the Spanish American War Collector of art the Astors Owned New York PDF or antiuities and stately homes William Waldorf became a British subject and acuired the title of Viscount Astor In New York during the s and after the two feuding Astors built monumental grand hotels chief among them the original Waldorf Astoria on lower Fifth Avenue The Astor hotels transformed social behavior Home of the chafing dish and the velvet rope the Waldorf Astoria drew the rich famous and fashionable It was the setting for the most notorious society event of the the Astors Owned PDF/EPUB Á era—a costume extravaganza put on by its hosts during a time of widespread need and unemployment The celebrity packed lobbies public rooms lavish suites and exclusive restaurants of the grand hotels became distinctive theaters of modern life.

10 thoughts on “When the Astors Owned New York Blue Bloods and Grand Hotels in a Gilded Age

  1. Sandy Sandy says:

    Pages 116 120      For his London business headuarters he William Waldorf Astor bought the building on Victoria Embankment at Temple Place      From this secure office on Victoria Embankment said HG Wells who interviewed him there for his 1906 book The Future in America William Waldorf Astor drew gold from New York perhaps 6 million a year in rents as effectually as a ferret draws blood from a rabbit He commanded an empire of office buildings; immense apartment houses on upper Broadway; blocks of decaying but invariably profitable tenement properties; the northern half of the famous old Astor House built by his great grandfather and still doing business; the Waldorf half of the Waldorf Astoria; and all of another hotel the New Netherland      Apart from the buildings in New York he had put up and the rents sweated from decaying slum properties there Astor's wealth represented the unearned increment of Manhattan land bought for a few dollars by earlier generations of Astors and now worth many times than what they had paid for them The owners had done virtually nothing in the meantime to alleviate the misery and increase the value of their extensive tenement holdings beyond holding them The Astors toiled not neither did they spin but an earthly father free enterprise and compound interest had endowed them with the glories of Solomon The enormous surplus value vested in their property did not belong to the Astors it could be said by single taxers socialists and other reform minded thinkers of the era it belonged to the sweated wage earners whose labor had turned a low lying village on Manhattan Island into the de facto commercial capital of the United States Page 149 For two or three decades much as ueen Victoria had presided over her empire and her household Mrs Astor Caroline wife of John Jacob Astor IV first cousin of William Waldorf Astor had presided over New York society and its inner group the so called Four Hundred She favoured the old colonial and Knickerbocker families Schermerhorns and Armstrongs from whom she was descended and she looked down on relative newcomers such as the Vanderbilts During her reign Caroline Astor imposed principles of decorum on a self appointed American aristocracy that was founded on descent inherited money and a code of exclusion but on no discernible intrinsic merit such as intellect learning or originality

  2. Michael Adamchuk Michael Adamchuk says:

    I expected a bit substance from a Pulitzer prize and National Book Award writer I thought this was a rather superficial characterization of the competition between two of the Astor's cousins William Waldorf Astor and John Jacob Astor IV Both tried to outdo the other in providing the rich and super rich with upscale accommodations in New York City In the process they did manage to up the ante on hotel architecture amenities and decor Both inherited their fortunes from the founding father JJA They both had dysfunctional lives to some extent William renounced his citizenship and became a subject of ueen Victoria His primary goal was to achieve peerage which he did in 1916 He became a Viscount After his mother and wife died he married a 17 year old girl when he was 46 JJA IV was a pleasure seeking playboy and perished with the sinking of the Titanic

  3. Mullgirl Mullgirl says:

    I’m a historical voyeur I enjoy looking back and seeing the way that people used to live in all walks of life And of course a peak into the uber rich’s lifestyle is always interesting That is what drew my attention to this bookIf you’re interested in historical New York hotels why they were built why they were destroyed and a very little detail about the goings ons in them back in the day this book might almost be for you If you are interested in ritzy New York generally from about 100 125 years ago this book is not for you I guess I just didn’t take the author’s title literally enough I guess at one point the Astor family owned a not inconseuential chunk of Manhattan And that is all that this book is about–oh with a little sibling rivalry built in so that we leave New York for a few pages to visit England Otherwise it’s about the Astor family’s acuisition of property and pissing match as to who could build the biggest most ostentatious hotelMy historical life and times voyeurism was not fed The end

  4. Frank Stein Frank Stein says:

    This guy won a Pulitzer for his biography on Mark Twain and obviously he decided to cash in on that prize and write a book just substantial enough to be reviewed by a few friendly authors and then dropped into a bookstore with a minimum of effort and research I do though finally feel like I understand the impenetrable Astor family dynasty the genealogy chart at the beginning certainly helped Though Melville said John Jacob Astor's name rings like unto bullion he was born to a butcher in Waldorf Germany and to the end of his life spoke with a German accent and would wipe his mouth on other guests' sleeves at meals He was hardly to the manor born yet when the War of 1812 destroyed his Northwest fur outpost he made one of the smartest moves in business history and invested all his money in New York real estate he later said that Could I begin life again knowing what I now know and had money to invest I would buy up every foot of land on the island of Manhattan Of his two sons one John the II was an imbecile while the other William Backhouse spent his life trying to prove that the poor butcher's son was descended from a Count Pedro d'Astorg of Castille His grandsons William Waldorf and John IV competed to build the biggest hotel in the world then combined them into the Waldorf Astoria on land later taken by the Empire State BuildingTwo other interesting facts William Waldorf Astor fled the United States after losing an election to Congress declaring that democracy in his home country was run by imbeciles who had no respect for class He then bought up the estate of Cliveden in Buckinghamshire and used it as a base for his ultra reactionary views In the 1930s it became the spirtual center of the infamous Cliveden set semi Nazi sympathizers who urged peace with Hitler at all costs Then in 1961 Prime Minister Harold MacMillan's Secretary of War John Profumo fell in love with a teenage call girl named Christine Keeler at a Clivden house party after she danced naked in front of the Cliveden pool It just so happened that she was also the lover of a Russian spy thus helping to bring down the MacMillan governmentThere you have it a few names a few fun facts and 200 extra pages of drivel

  5. Ashley Ashley says:

    I was disappionted in the lack of history about the Astors It was about their hotels than anything The last chapter talks about what happened to the hotelshouses the Astors owned and not what happened to the Astors The sentences are sometimes jumbled or in need of proper punctuation too If you are looking for a good book about the Astor family this is not it

  6. 4cats 4cats says:

    Not as interesting as I hoped More about the hotels than the people

  7. Kristin Kristin says:

    Much to my family's annoyance I read this on vacation and intermittently shared what I was learning about the Astors They politely nodded and resumed applications of sunscreen Author Justin Kaplan manages here to provide just enough entertaining details to make the book an engaging read straight through to the end The Astors created a paradigm shift in innkeeping leading to today's entire spectrum of hotels from the Super 8Motel 6Red RoofLa uintaNo Assembly Reuired genre along the interstate to the mints on the pillow five star deals Kaplan's book traces the rise and fall and really clever ideas of this family who found a way to make a bunch of money by helping people pretend even for just one night that they already have a bunch of money Great Great Grandpa Astor came to the US and realized that although inns were plentiful they were awkward no privacy no choice of meals and women and men were isolated from each other Further the US's uickly growing new money class had nowhere to showcase their recently acuired status Astor's dream was to create a conspicuous palace of elegance and luxury making it available one night at a time to anyone willing to pay for it The realization of that dream involved developing so much of hotel staying that we take for granted private hotel rooms restaurants with menus instead of one dish fits all nicely appointed lounges in hotel lobbies bell hopsdoormen in Marching Band looking uniforms even chafing dishes and the humble velvet rope It's all there and it includes a little good gossip too about the socialite wives and mistresses the untimely death of John Jacob Astor on the Titanic the lavish Manhattan parties and of course the personal eccentricities that tend to accompany great wealth On a personal note my own great great grandparents should those G's be capitalized? ran a little hotel along the Mississippi River in northern Missouri My grandma has told me stories of happy times spent visiting her grandparents there and entertaining herself while her grandparents did the hard work of innkeeping While my great great grandfather did the check ins kept the books made repairs etc my great great grandmother hand washed linens everyday in a big iron kettle in the yard plus cooked the evening meal for all the guests to be served in a large dining room In the evenings the men would sit in the parlor and smoke and the women basically were expected to keep to themselves in their rooms Grandma said that women didn't travel as freuently as men did though and rarely stayed in hotels on their trips In the morning a light breakfast of rolls coffee and tea was served before checkout Then most of the guests got on a riverboat and headed up or downstream to whereverThank God for the Astors and their vision of a better vacation I will remember them each trip that I am NOT confined to my hotel room as the sun sets o

  8. Kelly Lamb Kelly Lamb says:

    I read this in conjunction with the first two books of The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen in an effort to read both nonfiction and historical fiction about the same time period It was very interesting This book focuses on the lives of John Jacob Astor IV and his cousin William Waldorf Astor in the late 1800's to early 1900's It specifically targeted the grand hotels that they created Waldorf Astoria New Netherland St Regis etc but also on their personal and social lives It's a uick read but full of illustrative detail And I loved that there was a lot of overlap with The Luxe novels

  9. Marie Marie says:

    This book seems to lack focus It centers around just two Astors not on the whole family as the title would suggest It seems to want to focus on the hotels that John Jacob Astor IV and William Waldorf Astoria built and maintained but the author jumps from describing a hotel belonging to the Astors to describing one of the Astors mentioned above to talking about hotels built in Florida that were also extravagant to talking about a party that was held at the Waldorf Astoria It was difficult to stay engaged when the book jumped wildly from topic to topic without any perceptible thread tying one topic to the next

  10. Amyl Nitrate Amyl Nitrate says:

    This was paced very erratically with anecdotes told out of order when they would have clearly benefited from a chronological telling What was the deal with the preface being concerned with nothing but John Jacob Astor on the Titanic? It was a good story but it really would have been of a climax to the actual book it certainly seemed as if Kaplan wanted to have that as a climax He spoiled his own grand denouementThe first fourth of this maybe even third was a slog It was boring and uninspired The most interesting bits are about how the Astors are descendants of a German beer swilling butcher and how later on they try so extremely hard to prove that they were from royal ancestry to reason their wealth and their lackluster to them anyway familial history BUT Then come the hilarious stories of the rich running around Manhattan getting into all sorts of ridiculous antics There's a bit about an Astor William Astor? buying a St Bernard from a gypsy who convinced him that he was buying a highbred bear dog leading him to hypothesize about inter species breeding There is a 5000 bet made where the Astors cut down a redwood and have two dozen people sit around it's fallen trunk to have a great feastThere is a very right on chapter possibly the only well written one that details the public responses to the Astor families generally profound stupidity and how they made all their money from being landlords and did honestly very very little with their lives besides relish in wealth Another great part is when Willy Astor is asked by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow if he ever felt bad for the tenants he foreclosed upon and Willy just says no because he is only collecting his own money from them Those fuckersI was mostly disappointed with how little attention the Astor women got They were barely mentioned Not even the Caroline Schermerhorn who was albeit given face time than most other women in the book gets much breathing room

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