Crush New York Approved Tourist Attraction
What: Eloise’s portrait.
Where: The Plaza Hotel (1 West 58th Street, Midtown West)
Growing up I worshiped Eloise, the young heroine that lived at The Plaza Hotel from Kay Thompson’s children’s books. At the age of nine, my mom took me on my first trip to the Big Apple and obviously, we HAD to visit Eloise’s house. We stayed at The Pierre because the Plaza was booked. Insert: mini meltdown.
As an inquisitive young buck (with zero boundaries) I started pumping the staff for information. How old is she now? Does she still live here? Part-time or full-time? Does she ever rent out her room? Does she like pen-pals? Obviously, I demanded to slip a note under “her door” telling her how much I loved her and did my best to convince her that we should keep in touch.
Less than 24 hours into my stay, and mid-interview with two hotel staff members (pen and paper in hand), one of the female staff started to snicker. Immediately I asked her why. After some badgering on my end, she let me know that Eloise WASN’T REAL. What.the.eff. Mind you, at this point, I had already found out about Santa; I told my parents I knew what was up the year before. Obviously, I told them this post-presents, but figured I was safe re: I should expect the same gift amount since I had a much younger sister who still believed. I let them know it was only FAIR if we got equal amounts of gifts. I also knew about the Easter bunny (again, didn’t really care. My parents both worked full time so scoring candy whenever I wanted wasn’t an issue.)
However, after finding out the truth about Eloise, it felt like the end of the world. My hero didn’t exist….ever? There were tears and a whole lot of “how could you have lied to me mom?” To her dismay, the bulk of the tantrums took place in the hotel lobby. My “depression” eventually subsided (most likely after something shiny was put in front of me) and I somehow made it through. To this day, I still visit the picture hanging in the Plaza hallway to say hello to my favorite fictitious friend.
Epilogue: When The Plaza converted part of the hotel to condos in 2008, I was a little excited…