"Still Racing with the Moon III" --

A Gathering of the Vaughn Monroe Appreciation Society

May 29-30, 2009

A Walking Tour

by Herb Wasserman

Stop 1

Secaucus  Junction train station. New very attractive station. Hub for many different branches of New Jersey Transit. Not too many people exit the  line here. Hotel has a free shuttle service.

Stop 2

Penn Station (the magnificent original was demolished and this replaced by this hole in the ground).

Behind Penn Station is Madison Square Garden. Vaughn played there as part of a big band nostalgia show in the late 60's or early 70's. I was there, but don't  remember exactly when. (Vaughn also played at the rodeo in the old Garden on 8th Avenue in 1951).

Across the Street, the Hotel Pennsylvania. Vaughn played there with the band at the Cafe Rouge in the 1940's. He also played there in the 1950's as a single when it was known as the Hotel Statler. I saw him both ways.

Stop 3

Mounted police and horse. Very often seen in Times Square and other areas with high pedestrian density.

Group seated in Times Square. Part of Broadway was closed to auto traffic and open to foot traffic only and chairs provided by merchants until end of year. If it proves successful will be extended.

On west side of Broadway is the Paramount Theater site. The marquee has been restored in an electronic version, but there is a restaurant inside now, I believe. Vaughn played there in the 1940's with the band.

MTV has a studio on the second floor of the building on 44-45th street. This is the site of the old Hotel Astor, where Vaughn played as a single in1955.

On 47th Street is the site of the Strand Theater (later Warner Theater) which is now gone. I remember seeing Vaughn and the band there.

On the east side of Broadway at 44th is the Toys R Us store with a four-story-high Ferris wheel inside. Lots of things to see inside.

Stop 4

W Hotel, Times Square. Ground floor reception room is made to give the feeling of being underwater. Lobby, on an upper floor is very elegant in a modern way.

Stop 5

Rockefeller Center with 30 Rockefeller Plaza which houses the Rainbow Grill ( I saw Vaughn perform there in 1967). Building housed the NBC radio studios at that time. Also St. Patrick's, built in the mid 19th century.

Statue of Atlas carrying the world in Rockefeller Center on 5th  Avenue.

Lunch at Metro Cafe on 52nd Street and onto the Museum of Radio and Television across the street to watch some of Vaughn's TV shows.

Stop 6

Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Beautiful lobby and very first class hotel. Then upstairs on the elevator to the starlight roof where Vaughn played. 

We did not have time stop at the St. Regis, one of the top hotels in New York. I regret to this day I did not get to see him. I believe this early 1970's appearance was his last in New York. (He played some very classy places as a single).

We also did not have time to visit 1185 Park Avenue, a quite impressive apartment building which was Vaughn's New York residence for some years.

Stop 7

We walked over to Grand Central Terminal and caught the shuttle train to the west side. Next door was the Grand Hyatt, site of the Commodore, Vaughn's home hotel in New York. We then went back to a great dinner and even greater entertainment at the hotel. If you weren't there you missed a great evening.