Eloise Revisited

2012 UPDATE: The Plaza mall was recently renovated again (and Cafe Demel is gone).  I plan on writing a post about the new food court in the future.

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In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the main character Holly Golightly goes to Tiffany’s when she is experiencing the “mean reds” (something akin to depression and angst).  Holly – “When I get it, what does any good is to jump into a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away.  The quietness, the proud look.  Nothing very bad could happen to you there.”  Holly’s Tiffany philosophy is essentially how I feel about the Plaza Hotel.  Eloise was my favorite book as a child, and I used to love going to “visit” Eloise and then stopping by F.A.O. Schwartz across the street.  I was sad when I found out the Plaza was closing and undergoing renovations a few years ago.

A friend's birthday/tea party at the Plaza in elementary school (I'm wearing the grey dress w/ white collar/black coat in the front row)

A friend’s birthday/tea party at the Plaza in the 90s (I’m wearing the grey dress w/ white collar and black coat)

This summer I stopped by the Plaza, and I thought the lobby looked good (though still under construction at the time), but I couldn’t find the portrait of Eloise.  I asked a guard about the painting and he said in a matter-of-fact tone “Eloise has gone on vacation.”

A few days ago I stopped by the Plaza again to check out the new lower level shopping arcade, which opened this past fall.  I was pleased to find that Eloise has returned to the ground floor and that the lobby still has enough glitz/gold leaf to relieve me of the “mean reds.”  See below for more highlights from my visit:

Eloise and moi

Eloise and moi, circa ’93

My red eye tool is acting, so I like the 8 yr. old version of this photo more

My red eye tool is acting funky, so I like the 8 yr. old version of this photo more

The Palm Court looks the same, although it received terrible reviews and is supposed to ridiculously overpriced (always was though).

The Palm Court looks the same, although it received terrible reviews and is supposed to ridiculously overpriced (though it always has been dear).

the new retail section is pretty!

the new retail section is pretty!

Cafe Demel on the new lower level is an outpost of the famous Viennese cafe and looks lovely!

Cafe Demel on the new lower level is an outpost of the famous Viennese cafe and looks lovely.

the recession does not seem to be affecting Cafe Demel

I want to go back when I have at least one person to split a dessert with (starting at $7. a slice, the recession does not seem to be affecting Cafe Demel).

this is how I entertain myself

the Plaza lobby

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Eloise Revisited

  1. I am beyond obsessed with Audrey, so I love the quote. I often talk a Golightly stroll down fifth in the mornings!

    The palace a pretty magical place, fabulous post!

  2. liz

    I absolutely love this post. it is really touching. i especially love the juxtaposition here between the pic of you as a young girl, by eloise, and the follow up modern day shane. but i can completely relate with how you feel. i sortof get the same feeling whenever i go back home to oceanside and go to the ocean (or the beach). the experience brings a rush of emotions and sentiments from long ago. and at the same time the water allows me to escape — if even temporally — from the craziness and pressure of the world. but at the same time, i too feel the sense that when i make a second return something has changed. just like, in a sense, how you noted that the construction. the plaza isn’t the same. i wonder, too, if maybe you have changed as well, as i’m sure you have. it’s then like this mutual relationship of change. it all reminds me of a quote i love, although the quote itself does not fit exactly with your situation of the plaze, here goes. in the spirit of blogging, of course:

    “There is nothing like returning to a place that reminds unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” –Nelson Mandela

    So I realize that this doesn’t entirely apply; i.e., you note that the plaza does indeed change, but there is a sense in which the picture of eloise is still eloise. and well, you just are different. i absolutely love this quote, and the picture, because i can genuinely relate to it in so many different instances of my life! and tangentially, i think, the quote captures the essence of how i am constantly changing, growing, becoming. as i’m sure you are too!!

    thanks shane, for sharing this entry with me, and for sharing your nostalgia for the plaza. in many ways, you will forever be eloise at the plaza. 🙂

  3. Barbara Lederer

    I would love a copy of Kay Thompson reading the story of Eloise aloud. Does anyone know how I can purchase that? Thanks so much!

    • roseofbohemia

      Sorry, I don’t know where you can purchase that, but I heard the biography about Ms. Thompson that came out a few months ago is supposed to be great. I want to read it!

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