June 15, 2017

Tudor City Artifact: NO. 45's MYSTERY MENU HOLDER

Continuing our series of Tudor City artifacts, today's subject  ‒ a metal-and-glass menu holder hanging near the door of No. 45's restaurant space ‒ is steeped in mystery.
It looks like it's been there from the beginning. . . but has it?

Closer examination shows that the holder is topped with some art nouveau embellishment, including the initials 'WA.' Yet there's never been a restaurant in No. 45 with those initials.

By chance, we came upon a news account of a 1929 auction of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel's contents. The Waldorf was moving uptown, its original site to be razed and replaced by the Empire State Building. Not incidentally, a good part of the auction was devoted to restaurant equipment.

Our theory is that this item was originally a Waldorf-Astoria menu holder, acquired by the Tudor City Restaurant at this auction, perhaps along with other kitchen items; the Tudor City Restaurant was still fairly new. The holder was installed on the wall of No. 45 around this time (1929) and has remained in place ever since.

Other theories are welcomed. . .

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