The Persian Room

 

By Rob Arango

If I had a dollar for every guest I have met over the 10 years I have been at the Plaza who has said to me, “I remember the Persian Room, where I saw Eartha Kit perform and Trader Vic’s and the deadly punch bowl drinks,” I would be a very rich man. 

The Persian Room opened April 1, 1934—four months after Prohibition was repealed.  New Yorkers were thirsty and looking for a hot spot to see the latest and hottest entertainers in the world.  The most famous couple to dazzle the elite crowd in the early thirties was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  Note, that the whiskey bottle and glasses made a significant message in the opening photo of the Persian Room that prohibition was over!  Another interesting tidbit of nostalgia, was live radio shows were broadcasted from the Persian Room until the late 1950’s.  The public demanded the highly sought after performers and it was a major offering to produce these live radio shows.  As far as design of the famed room—Lillian Palmedo, the artist who produced five specific murals including dancing, eating, hunting and drinking all Persian style were so stunning that guests often came to the Persian Room just to see the murals before a cocktail.  Sadly, like El Morocco and the Stork Club, the Persian Room closed its doors in 1975.  The Rose Club today sits in the same footprint of the famous room. If only those walls could talk.  Next month I will take you on a tour of Trader Vic’s.