With its concrete canyons and urbanity, Midtown is a place where you can easily imagine momentous events transpiring, big deals brokered, wise words uttered. The neighborhood is home to several venues that are especially well suited to such weighty affairs.
The Algonquin Lounge is a cushy lair in one of the city’s best-loved old hotels. Ninety years ago it was the favorite lunch spot of a group of actors, writers and critics known as the Round Table. Talk could be vicious, but was unfailingly clever. During one of the lunches wisecracking satirist Dorothy Parker was asked to use the word ‘horticulture’ in a sentence and she replied, ‘You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.’
The King Cole Bar off the lobby of the St Regis Hotel is a dark, woody hideaway that is wonderfully impervious to the march of time. Dress well, order a Bloody Mary (allegedly invented here), and ask the bartender to tell you what’s really going on in the Maxfield Parrish mural of Old King Cole behind the bar (pictured).
The Four Seasons has been the epitome of grown-up urbanity ever since it opened in the Seagram Building in 1959. Undulating walls of metal chain curtains envelop the space in a time warp, and the effect is magical. Philip Johnson, the legendary architect, designed the Four Seasons, and few of his many masterpieces are as beloved.