Photo: Roving Rube
03 January 21
The Waldorf Astoria Clock
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Photographer's notes: According to the plaque, this clock was made in London for display at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
Although it includes a cameo of Queen Victoria, it is very much a "celebration of America" with reliefs of Presidents and popular sports of the day (Fig. 1 and 2), and capped by a Statue of Liberty (In Context). Fig. 3 is a relief on the ceiling directly above the clock.
Not an Urban Legend: The Rube was sitting in the Waldorf's lobby one day -- feeling particularly audacious because he was not a guest of the hotel -- when he noticed a beautiful woman, stunningly dressed, in a chair opposite him. So as not to appear to stare, he looked off in another direction, and there in the next chair was another gorgeous woman, also strikingly dressed. In fact, not only was every chair, couch, and couch arm occupied by such women, there were groups of them standing in all corners, all dressed up, and all very tall and slender.
Had it been the man-about-town Rube of today, he would have not asked any questions, but instead would parked himself at the bar and awaited further developments ... but the Rube of that time got up and looked around to see if this was in fact a model's convention, and indeed the crowd in the adjacent ballroom proved this beyond all reasonable doubt. Then he started to feel self-conscious and not dressed for the occasion, and left ... Thinking back on it now, it was not long after this that he start to think seriously about moving to New York.
Which reminds him of another time a few years ago, after he had moved here, and was also working in midtown. He was walking home through Rockefeller Center when he started to notice many beautiful Asian women, all in formal black evening dresses. Many, many, many of them. It was like that valley in South America where all the Monarch butterfly congregate. He was ready to think he had imagined it by the next day, except a similarly awestruck co-worker brought it up. They agreed it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Apparently there was some special event at Radio City.
Which reminds him that about a year after that, he got to go to a holiday party where out of eight people, one of them turned out to be a recent Miss America. He was thrilled, but having already had the experiences above, the 49 other contestants would also have to have shown up for him to be truly amazed.