The Waldorf Astoria, an official New York City landmark since 1993, has been an internationally recognized symbol of elegance and grace for more than 100 years. As such the Art Deco masterpiece, occupying an entire city block of midtown Manhattan is at the epicenter of the city’s cultural and social community. A grand hotel with cosmopolitan restaurants, bustling lounges and bars and intriguing boutiques, The Waldorf is a microcosm of the city it has served so well for so long. The property recently unveiled an exotic rooftop garden built as the second phase of the 20th floor outdoor space which opened with six beehives last spring.
The garden, built in conjunction with the Horticultural Society of New York (THE HORT), complements the hotel’s ability to uniquely present fresh, local ingredients for use throughout the hotel while aiding the surrounding environment. The transformed oasis high above Lexington Avenue features nine raised planting beds, six trees and numerous potted plants.
Examples of featured seasonal items include fig and apple trees, eight ball squash, hops, alpine strawberries, edible flowers and eight varieties of basil. All plants chosen are appropriate for the bees in the nearby apiaries, which steadily produce “Top of the Waldorf Rooftop Honey.” The space is poised for development of additional beds and gardening areas in coming months.
“Our team is able to get excited about this initiative,” remarked Eric O. Long, general manager of the Waldorf Astoria New York. “Our guests can enjoy dishes with items picked a few stories above while sipping a cocktail infused with honey made from our bees and have a spa treatment with herbal benefits. We always strive to be an unforgettable destination. I appreciate its potential to present guests with the authentic moments for which we are legendary.”
Harvested ingredients are presented in daily specials at the hotel’s three dining outlets including Peacock Alley and its famed Sunday Brunch, Oscar’s Brasserie and Bull & Bear Prime Steakhouse. Items are also utilized in creative cocktails in Peacock Alley such as the Rooftop Ramble. Private event attendees can also sample custom created menu items. Spa guests can also enjoy the benefits of the fresh ingredient with Guerlain Spa’s new Milk, Honey and Herb manicure and pedicure. Members of the public who desire to visit the garden are invited to do so while participating in the hotel’s Historic Tour, offered every Thursday and Saturday.
The rooftop garden was built with help from hotel staff volunteers and THE HORT. It is currently being overseen by Executive Chef David Garcelon and George Pisegna, Director of Horticulture and Public Programs for the Horticultural Society of New York.