The hotel was designed by architects Schultze and Weaver and constructed at 301 Park Avenue, just north of Grand Central Terminal. That area was developed by building atop the existing railroad tracks leading to the station, with buildings like the Waldorf-Astoria utilizing “air rights” to the space above the tracks.
The new building opened on October 1, 1931. The 47-story 190.5 m (625 ft) hotel was the tallest and largest hotel in the world, and remained so for a number of years. The large mass of the building covering the entire block, up to the 17th floor, consisted of public rooms and 1500 hotel rooms, while the slender central tower was known as the Waldorf Towers, with its own private entrance on 50th Street, and consisted of 100 suites, about one third of which were leased as private residences.
President Herbert Hoover said on the radio, broadcast from the White House: “The opening of the new Waldorf Astoria is an event in the advancement of hotels, even in New York City. It carries great tradition in national hospitality…marks the measure of nation’s growth in power, in comfort and in artistry…an exhibition of courage and confidence to the whole nation.
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