The Plaza Hotel has enchanted millions across the globe since it opened in 1907, and among them is author Patty Farmer, who first visited the luxury hotel at age 7.
She envisioned herself to be like Eloise, from the children’s book series about a girl who lived on the hotel’s “tippy-top floor.” Eventually, Farmer followed in Eloise’s footsteps and became a Plaza resident herself 10 years ago.
Her love of the Plaza inspired two books, the second of which was released today. “Starring the Plaza” comes four years after “The Persian Room Presents,” an oral history on the hotel’s nightclub, which was open from 1934 to 1975.
“Starring the Plaza” centers on the hotel’s place in entertainment history, from Hollywood to Broadway —and especially the stars who flocked and filmed there, like Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, The Beatles and countless others.
Metro: What do you remember most about your first visit to the Plaza?
Patty Farmer: It was just magical. Plus, Eloise was born there, so I think that helped. When you’re a child, you’re like, ‘Can I talk to her?’ (laughs)
I think I learned most of my etiquette visiting there with my mother and having her tell me to ‘put on your Sunday manners.’ And things haven’t changed. I was having tea in the Palm Court (recently) and saw a bunch of little girls with their mothers or grandmothers, and it was the same scene. It’s timeless.
What was it like walking into your very own Plaza apartment for the first time?
It was like I wasn’t even living my own life. Just wow.
Did you approach this book differently than “The Persian Room Presents?”
This one is primarily a photo album, although there is a lot of narrative in there. The photos tell the story with me narrating slightly.
You said you “scoured the archives” for "Starring the Plaza." What was most surprising thing you uncovered?
That it went back so far, and we came up with enough to do a volume two, which I may do sometime. That kind of surprised me.
What’s next for you?
I’m still fascinated with the Plaza, and after “The Persian Room Presents” came out, I was contacted by so many stars and their agents (that weren’t included), so I may even do a “Persian Room” revised.
In addition to “Starring the Plaza,” Farmer will also release “Playboy Laughs: The Comedy, Comedians and Cartoons of Playboy” on Aug. 31. Both are available on Amazon.com.