Category Archives: Bergdorfs

The Wyndham

The Wyndham, 42 West 58th Street

The Wyndham, located on 58th Street in Manhattan, directly behind The Plaza, was a small hotel (200 rooms) in which we lived for a short while after returning to the States from London and before moving to the Howard Johnson’s in Danbury.  I know, I know… from La Mamounia in Marrakech to The Ritz in Paris to the London Hilton to the Howard Johnson’s?!  The mind reels.

Anyway, while the Howard Johnson’s distilled, for me, the hotel experience to its essence, the Wyndham was probably the perfect example of the median hotel experience. 

It was practical:  maid service, clean, good linens, plenty of towels, and room service with acceptable food.  In addition many of the rooms also had kitchenettes for those on an extended stay.

It was convenient:  on 58th street directly behind The Plaza between 5th and 6th Avenues, it was half a block from Bergdorf’s and the Paris movie theater and around the corner from Carnegie Hall and the Russian Tea Room.

It was cheap compared to its neighbors.

And it was also glamourous:  not a flashy kind of glamour but and old fashioned, “people in the know,” un-wasteful  kind of glamour.  It was known as the actor’s hotel and many famous ones who had the money to stay elsewhere stayed there because the owners, John and Susan Mados (who also lived there) made it feel like home.  Hume Cronin, Jessica Tandy, Stacy Keach, Anthony Quinn, John Cassavetes, and Lawrence Olivier all called it home for the duration of a play on Broadway or a movie shoot or longer.  It was like a small European hotel in the heart of New York.  Sadly, it closed in 2005.


Holly Golightly

Holly Golightly aka Lula Mae Barnes

Eloise was an icon that symbolized my childhood in New York–unsupervised, wild and crazy, lonely, but always, somehow safe and frequently fun.  Holly Golightly was the symbol of my mother’s time in New York.  The Georgann Rea of the Dakota and Park Avenue, with charge accounts at Bergdorfs and Bendels and Bloomingdales and tables at La Grenouille and Lutece was a creation of my stepfather and his taste and money and also of my mother and her aching desire to have the perfect life she’d always dreamed about–glamourous and romantic and important.  She’d glimpse it, grab at it and hold it in her hand like the exquisite jewelry my stepfather bought for her but she’d never be able to hang onto it.  Underneath her frosted hair and her little black Italian silk cocktail dresses, mother would always be the Iowa orphan (Loreta May Gronau) and abused little girl from Kansas City (Georgann McAdams) looking for unconditional love and a sense of belonging.