I had my first NYC martini at the Algonquin in 1984. Mr Hoy served it to me shaken ice cold and up with olives. I had come from my first NYC job interview at 20th Century Fox and my optimism made up for the fact I could barely afford the drink. So I had two. It was 3:30 and the bar was empty so Mr. Hoy and I told each other lies about our time in the Army. He was a wonderful man I'll never forget.
In the 90s, the Algonquin was my hotel of choice when I visited NYC from Chicago. It was cheap and thread bare but I loved it. I was sitting at the bar one afternoon when I heard this unmistakable laugh behind me. I turned to see Charles Nelson Reilly in a crunched up khaki hat and madras shirt holding court with a couple suits. I told Mr. Hoy I would be right back.
I Walked across 44th Street to a pay phone and called a buddy. "Is Charles Nelson Reilly still alive?" "Yep, " he said. "I'll be damned." I said and walked back to my drink. Sitting at the bar I eavesdropped and discovered Charles was directing a play. I asked Mr Hoy if he ever saw The Ghost and Mrs Muir. He had not. Not surprising for a man who tended bar nights. I should have mentioned Match Game.
Many owners and refurbishings later there's still something about the place I find soulful and real. Certainly there's the, "If these walls could talk..." thing going on. But the Algonquin stands proudly on her history... and some of that history is now my history.