Starring the Plaza: Hollywood, Broadway, and High Society Visit the World’s Favorite Hotel

From the day it opened, on October 1, 1907, the lavish 19-story French Renaissance building on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South was simply the grandest hotel in the world. It’s no wonder that the Plaza Hotel and its lavish interiors and exteriors have remained sought-after settings for films, TV shows, commercials―even music videos―as well as home to the most significant social events of their day.

It’s no surprise that many of the films shot there have become beloved classics, from Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest; to everybody’s favorite tear-jerker, The Way We Were; to Neil Simon’s uproarious Plaza Suite and Barefoot in the Park. In those and dozens of others, the Plaza Hotel’s own special magic was stirred into Hollywood’s heady mix and the results were timeless.

In Starring the Plaza, a labor of love conceived and created by pop-cultural historian Patty Farmer, the Plaza Hotel New York shines in a new light: a Klieg light, as it were. Page after page of moments captured from movies, plays, TV shows, parties, premieres, and press events form a new kind of chronicle of New York’s favorite landmark. Readers will find all their favorite Plaza-on-film moments here―plus a few they might not have been aware of. There are even some Hollywood recreations of the place included―Plaza Pretenders―but it’s clear that no amount of movie magic could ever beat the real thing.

From Shirley MacLaine scaling the Pulitzer Fountain to a frizzy-headed Barbra Streisand handing out political leaflets, the Plaza Hotel has co-starred with the best in the business. And from Liz Taylor to the Beatles, anyone who is anyone has stayed there, partied there, and who-knows-what-else there. Yes, that’s really the grand lobby in Home Alone 2, the Oak Bar in North by Northwest, and the Persian Room in Sabrina

Starring the Plaza is the first-ever visual celebration of the Plaza Hotel on stage, screen, and in society, and author, Patty Farmer, has scoured the archives to show it off in all its glory. Legendary movie star Mitzi Gaynor provides the Foreword and discloses a few of her own adventures at the iconic hotel.

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