Plaza New York 100!
( words)Israeli Billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva bought the celebrated New York Plaza Hotel in 2004 for $675 million. Now it celebrated its 100 anniversary. Host Matthew Broderick kicked off the 2nd October celebration as breathtaking fireworks cascaded from the roof to the soothing sounds of a 50-person St. Luke's orchestra and a special Paul Anka rendition of "My Way." After the park-facing façade of the Plaza Hotel had glowed with the number "100," after white and gold jets of light had been launched from the roof into the dark October sky, and after a pigeon and a heart-shaped balloon had flown past the 12th floor, suddenly flashes of white light, syncopated to the strains of "One" from the Broadway hit "A Chorus Line," burst from the windows of the venerable hostelry-turned-hotel-and-condominium. The Plaza's 100th birthday last night was a hit, and it gave a new meaning to the term "Great White (and Green) Way." The sidewalks of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South were jammed for an outdoor celebration that lit up the building with 600,000 lumens of light in hues of white, silver, and gold. "This is a big holiday for New York, for everyone," the owner of the building, the founder and chairman of Elad Properties, Isaac Tshuva, said early in the evening, standing next to a fully manned check-in desk and a huge vase of yellow and pink dahlias set on a marble-topped table in the lobby (even though the hotel isn't open yet). Surrounded by his family, he beamed all night long, especially during his Champagne toast: "L'Chaim to you and to the city of New York," he said to his guests during a private reception in the Edwardian Room. About an hour later, at the podium outside the hotel, Mr. Tshuva joined Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff for the countdown to the fireworks show. Mr. Doctoroff, acting mayor during Mayor Bloomberg's trip to Europe, noted the mayor had just arrived back in New York before reading a city proclamation declaring October 1 as the Plaza's 100th birthday. Screens throughout Grand Army Plaza projected photographs from the Plaza's past, and remarks included sentimental moments. And the square itself was lit up to show off a grove of Bradford Callery pear trees whose care Mr. Tshuva's company endowed through a contribution to the Central Park Conservancy. The president of the New York Hotel Trades Council, Peter Ward, recalled having his wedding at the hotel 24 years ago. Mr. Ward also spoke of his initial "concern and skepticism" about the intentions of Elad Properties with regard to the future of the union employees of the hotel. And then there was the cake. At 12 feet, more than 3,900 pounds and $120,000, it's the mother of all birthday cakes. The stunning replica of the century-old building and its surrounding streets took celebrity cake master Ron Ben-Israel and his team of 17 artisans and bakers over a month to create. "It's the biggest cake I've done. We had to work around the clock," added the former ballet dancer and Israeli immigrant. "It's an exact replica. We couldn't take any liberties; too many people know the building," Ben-Israel, 50, said. White-gloved waiters presented some 1,000 guests with silver trays of precut White Cloud Vanilla Cake with Cookies 'n' Cream buttercream, while the mini-Plaza stood untouched. "It's constructed like a gingerbread house and smells like a giant cookie," Ben-Israel said. "At $120 apiece, it's a bargain!"