Located in the heart of the bustling main lobby of New Yorks iconic landmark hotel, The Waldorf=Astoria, with its gilded ceiling, Deco design and frieze work, Peacock Alleys setting is opportune and ideal, given how hotel lobbies are emerging as renewed meeting places for travelers and city dwellers. Peacock Alley also flanks the original focal point of the lobby, a famed nine-foot-high, two-ton clock, first exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. The clock chimes every 15 minutes and has, for decades, been a popular meeting spot in New York City.
Chef de Cuisine Cedric Tovar most recently chef of Django (New York), and former chef at Theo (New York) and Town (New York) began his impressive career in Paris, developing his talent at legendary, Michelin-starred establishments including 30 Fauchon, Joel Robuchons Jamin, La Tour DArgent and Plaza Athénée Hotel Paris. The Alsatian/Haitian chefs culinary style has been heavily influenced by his south of France childhood and his extraordinary heritage. The result will be Peacock Alleys fare, which will marry French techniques with a respect for core ingredients, a curiosity for global cuisine and a commitment to high quality, fresh and local products.
General Manager Jean-Pierre Duteron is a Bordeaux-born, flawless host and sommelier, and one-time Maitre d to the late French president Francois Mitterand. He honed his management skills as vice president of food and beverage for Brian McNallys restaurant 44 at Ian Schragers Royalton Hotel in New York. Duterons past roles include that of managing partner with Sean Penn, Harvey Weinstein and John Malkovich at Chelsea restaurant Man Ray and consultant for several international companies in fine dining and hospitality.
Peacock Alley salutes the original Waldorf=Astoria, which was the hub of the citys social life at the turn-of-the-century. As New Yorks grandest hotel, it was a hybrid of two neighboring hostelries The Waldorf and The Astoria, each owned by different members of the Astor family. The two hotels were joined by a 300-foot long, mirrored corridor, which became the citys chicest haunt to debut the latest fashions. At both ends of that corridor were very grand restaurants and it became the fashion of the swells of the day to wander back and forth between the two as a means of showing off their splendor sort of the red carpet of the time. Noted by a writer at the time as being akin to many peacocks strutting, the name struck a popular chord and the corridor became known as Peacock Alley. It also became quite a tourist attraction and it was not uncommon for hundreds of spectators to witness the nightly parade. When the current hotel was opened in 1931, homage was paid to the Peacock Alley and a hallway off the lobby was created in its name. In the 1960s, the first incarnation of Peacock Alley restaurant opened. Peacock Alley restaurant closed on Sept. 20, 2001. Not unlike many New York hotels, The Waldorf=Astoria made the business decision based on the existing market and fluctuations in New York tourism following Sept. 11. The hotel maintained that the decision wasnt an everlasting one, and would be revisited when the marketplace returned to its usual vigor. The reopening of Peacock Alley is part of the hotels $22.7 million capital investment for 2005.
The Waldorf=Astorias Art Deco heritage has become one of its most valuable assets. A master planned Art Deco renovation of the hotels public spaces was embarked on in the 1980s, restoring them to the buildings 1931 vintage. To date, that restoration represents a $400 million investment. Keeping the classic Art Deco décor of the hotel and its grand lobby in mind, notable New York design firm Arnold Syrop Associates responsible for designing several top Manhattan restaurants including Cité, Maloney & Porcelli, the Park Avenue Café and Roys New York as well as Aquatica at Eden Roc Resort & Spa in Miami has been retained for the project, which began construction in May 2005.