Hotel Hightower Grand Opening, is an article published by the newspaper The New York Globe Telegraph, on Monday, January 25, 1892. It reports the events leading up to the grand opening of the Hotel Hightower.
HOTEL HIGHTOWER GRAND OPENING
HIGHTOWER'S MASTERPIECE OPENS AS LAST
January 24, 1892 New York City, NY - Towering above Manhattan, the glorious Hotel Hightower has finally opened its doors to the public after three years of construction. Harrison Hightower III, the 'Dragon of Park Place', reportedly conceived this hotel a personification of everything he stands for: Beauty, Power, Elegance and Excellence. The hotel and the man who built it are both prime examples of the PARADE DOWN FIFTH AVENUE. The grand opening celebration began with with a parade down fifth avenue. It was an exotic event, featuring music and costumed peoples from various countries of the world. The parade began with an impressive float depicting a massive globe of the earth. The globe was impaled with a glittering sword with Hightower's emblem, on the hilt. Occasionally the globe opened to reveal a shining pearl inside, being held by a beautiful lady in a diaphanous white gown. Close behind followed a marching band from Colonial India. After that, a Chinese dragon snaked it's way down the street to the accompaniment of exploding fireworks. This was followed by Belly dancers from Arabia accompanied by a small orchestra on a stand, pulled by Arabian horses. This was followed by a group of Arapaho Indian ghost dancers and drummers. These, in turn, were followed by acrobats from Indonesia, chanting. Maori warriors from New Zealand, and elegantly dressed geishas from Japan. It was quite a strange collection of people, who reportedly had been brought from the far corners of the world for only one purpose to march in this parade.
The final grouping of the parade featured Hightower himself. He was preceded by a large group of men dressed in their traditional African garb, shivering in the freezing air. They banged wildly banging on drums and doing a most amusing dance. Many of these men appeared oddly frightened perhaps overwhelmed by the awesome sights and sounds of Manhattan. Behind this group of villagers followed Hightower, grandly riding atop a giant African elephant, wearing a glorious white uniform and pith helmet with a tall feather waving in the wind. Hightower's elephant was surrounded by an honor guard of tough looking men, dressed in jungle coats, carrying rifles and flags with Hightower's double-H emblem. More than a few woman are reported to have fainted at the glorious sight of Hightower on top of that Elephant, his gleaming white beard shining in the sun.
Four brass bands from different boroughs were assembled around the hotel, all playing the 'Hightower March' as he arrived. The sound was nearly deafening. The New York Police had quite a job a time holding back the crowds for Hightower's arrival. He rode up to a podium and gave a speech that was nearly drowned out by the cheering throng. "People of New York, with my own two hands I have created this magnificent edifice, which I now give to you, that you may share in my greatness." Hightower cut the ribbon across the threshold with his cutlass and stepped inside.
Invited guests started arriving in their private coaches as soon as the streets were clear. These were the social elites of the city, including Mayor Chaplin and the city council. Also on hand was President Benjamin Harrison, although he reportedly went straight to his room and slept through the night. Every famous face in New York could be seen, except for Cornelius Endicott III, the second richest man in New York, who reportedly not invited. The guest list was so long that the hotel was filled to capacity. The staff faced the monumental task of serving everyone with the efficiency and courtesy that Hightower demands.
In the evening a grand ball was held in the Atlantis Ballroom with music provided by the impresario Joel N. Cicero and his world famous orchestra. The finest ladies of society proudly exhibited the latest fashions, and danced the Hightower Walts with their elegantly attired husbands. After 11pm, the women retired to bed leaving the men to hold a special late night event.
Although reporters were not allowed into the event we've been told that it was an intimate an sedate affair. Harrison Hightower reportedly told humorous anecdotes about the construction of the hotel, and shared stories relating to the acquisitions of various artifacts in the hotel. This morning some New York newspapers are reporting scandalous rumors of dancing girls and drunken revelry. Allegations that the event degenerated into an orgy of drunken lewdness are strongly denied by Hightower's staff. We believe that the rumors are exaggerations and lies invented by Hightower's business rivals (primarily Cornelius Endicott III) to give the hotel a black eye. Hotel Hightower is surely the finest hotel in America, and perhaps the world. If you plan to visit you should know the rooms have been booked solid for the next two months, so make your reservations early.
Poor planning was partly responsible for a small riot that followed. It began as invited guests began to present their invitations at the door. Thugs and rowdies who had infiltrated the crowd moved forward intent on getting into the celebration. A scuffle ensued, and the throng on the street followed the rowdies and within minutes the crowd pressed through the door and filled the lobby to capacity. They gawked at the elegant interiors, knocked over valuable lamps, and tried to force their way onto the main elevator. Harrison Hightower and the New York Police eventually evicted the crowd from the hotel, but the streets were so blocked that carriages of invited guests couldn't get through. It took an hour, but finally the police broke up the small riot. In the confusion some of the parade marchers were forgotten. Groups of them still dressed in exotic outfits, were seen wandering in the cold park all day, apparently lost, confused, and unsure of their next destinations.