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The Algonquin Hotel


Lit Nerd Wednesday!

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think


If you ever want to while away an afternoon check out some quotes by Dorothy Parker — they’re sharp as ever decades later. Though she always had a knack for biting wit, she fine-tuned it when she started working as the theater critic for Vanity Fair in 1918 where she became close friends with humorist Robert Benchley and playwright Robert Sherwood. In 1919 and what began as a roast of  drama critic Alexander Wolcott, Parker, Benchley and Sherwood began having lunches at The Algonquin Hotel’s Rose Room pulling in other acquaintanences in the theatre and writing circles — even Tallulah Bankhead and Harpo Marx(?!) were members at one point. The Algonquin Roundtable, a.ka. “The Vicious Circle”, unleashed their wit to a national audience through newspaper columns written by some of the members.


Parker was fired from Vanity Fair in 1920 for pissing off too many powerful Broadway producers who were apparently big babies when it came to criticism. In 1925 she started contributing poems to the newly founded New Yorker magazine kicking off a creative spree that would last for 15 years. The Roundtable lunches continued through the 1920’s inspiring the members to collbaorate on a theatre revue, No Sirree!, which played for one night only in 1922. As the decade roared on the meetings became less frequent and by 1929 nonexisitent. In her later years, Parker slammed the Roundtable times saying:

These were no giants. Think who was writing in those days—Lardner, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and Hemingway. Those were the real giants. The Round Table was just a lot of people telling jokes and telling each other how good they were. Just a bunch of loudmouths showing off, saving their gags for days, waiting for a chance to spring them… There was no truth in anything they said. It was the terrible day of the wisecrack, so there didn’t have to be any truth.”

In 1934 she joined other writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner and moved to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter for Paramount (she co-wrote the script for the 1937 version of A Star is Born). She returned to New York City in 1952 and lived at the Volney Residential Hotel at 23 East 74th Street with her dog, Troy. She died there in 1967.

What: The Algonquin Hotel

Who: Dorothy Parker

Where: 59 West 44th Street

One Response to “The Algonquin Hotel”
  1. This is a delightful find! I want to access this more in the days to come. And by the way, my heart goes out to you and what NYC is going through.

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