ON THE TOWN
While you may or may not consider New York one of the world's most elegant cities, she certainly wears a glorious winter coat. And anyway, Central Park alone can swallow up the likes of a city like Monaco. No, you don't need a top hat and tails to enjoy an evening of class in New York City. . . but you do need a touch of savoir faire.
WHAT GOES "ROUND": And that is precisely the mark of those privy to lodge or dine at the legendary Algonquin Hotel. This N.Y.C. landmark in the theatre district is "an oasis of civility and charm" offering deluxe accommodations, complimentary breakfast buffet, several daily papers and the New Yorker Magazine, which was conceived and funded at this very hotel.
Weekend brunch is served in The Oak Room, while both pre-theatre dinner or after-theatre supper are served in the Rose Room, where in the mid 1920's the literati and theatre elite held court at the eminent Round Table. Playwrights like George S. Kaufman ("The Man Who Came to Dinner"), Robert E. Sherwood ("Abe Lincoln in Illinois"), Edna Ferber (who wrote the novel "Show Boat") . . . stars of the day like Ethel Barrymore, Noël Coward, Sinclair Lewis and, of course, the acerbic writer Dorothy Parker, whiled away the hours with witty repartee. Today, the best of Broadway still stops in for a visit. (Algonquin Hotel: 59 West 44th Street, 212-840-6800.)
DIVA'S DIVA: To experience the toast of Broadway, look no further than Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally's "Master Class" at the Golden Theatre. Zoe Caldwell (herself a three-time Tony Award winner) stars as opera legend Maria Callas (who incidentally was born in New York!) and leads a master class of aspiring young singers. Maria Callas, considered one of the most versatile opera divas in recent history, lead a tempestuous and passionate life which haunted her, and it is that same passion she ventured to instill in the next generation. (John Golden Theatre: 252 West 45th Street 212-239-6200.) JULIE, JULIE, JULIE: By far, the classiest actress in town (perhaps anywhere) is Julie Andrews, whose every spoken syllable resonates with sterling silver. This Fair Lady has starred in the greatest Broadway and movie musicals, shows that have won Tony, Oscar and even Emmy awards. Currently starring in the $8.5 million production of "Victor/Victoria" at the Marquis Theatre, Andrews re-creates her movie role as the female singer impersonating a man impersonating a woman. She/he falls in love with handsome club owner Michael Nouri, and just guess what happens next. (Marquis Theatre: 1535 Broadway at 46th St. 212-307-4100.)
-- By Jennifer Lanter