New York The Algonquin Hotel threw itself a 100th birthday party Friday, recalling the glory days when literary legends gathered in its oak-paneled lobby to trade witticisms and tip back drinks.
In the room where Dorothy Parker and her sharp-tongued writer friends held court for years, the hotel served a luncheon to kick off months of events celebrating the centennial.
"Everything about the atmosphere here is a step back in time," said singer Andrea Marcovici, who has performed her cabaret act at the Algonquin for 15 years. "The world is more glamorous here, more graceful."
The hotel has taken pains to preserve an opulent look that recalls its opening in 1902. A multimillion-dollar renovation, completed four years ago, restored marble stairs, antique furniture and intricate ironwork.
But its glory years were the 1920s, when writers gathered there for daily lunches and drinks and came to be known as the Round Table. Parker, Edna Ferber, Robert Benchley and Franklin P. Adams were regulars.
The centennial events will culminate in a gala in March. The Algonquin will also work with Washington-based nonprofit First Book to promote reading among poor children.