New York City’s historic Algonquin Hotel is known for numerous traditions, including a group of 20th-century writers, actors, and producers known as the Algonquin Round Table. Another tradition involves a cat. The hotel since the 1920s has kept a series of cats who’ve been free to roam about the premises. The Algonquin’s current cat is named Matilda.
The Algonquin hosts an annual glittering charity part and feline fashion show for its current resident feline, Matilda. The event brings New York’s feline-friendly glitterati to sip Matilda’s signature cocktail and mingle with models wearing outfits created by pet fashion designer Ada Nieves.
If this year’s party wasn’t on your social calendar, don’t worry. I was on the guest list with photographer Paul Smulson. Together we chose the 10 best things about the party to share with you.
They say dogs have master and cats have staff. So, staying true to this statement, Matilda napped in her custom-built cat tree at the front desk while her minions bustled about preparing of the event.
She is the 11th Algonquin Cat to reside at this landmark hotel since the 1920s and hold the coveted role.
2. Police who investigate animal cruelty
This year the party honored members of the New York City Police Department’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad who had put their lives on the line to rescue felines in distress and danger.
Shown here are Alice de Almeida, Matilda’s party planner (center), and (from left to right), officer John Passarella, officer Andrea DiNella, detective Lisa Bergen, and officer Sean Ryan.
3. Matilda’s signature cocktail
Chuck the Barman, decked in cat ears for the occasion, served Matilda’s signature cocktail, the recipe for which is below.
- 1 oz. vodka
- 4 oz. fresh orange juice
- 1 oz. Triple Sec
- 1 oz. of sparkling wine
4. The fabulous food
Chef Jon Lovitch went over the top with his menu — there was no cat food on crackers at this occasion. Guests nibbled on smoked chicken and white corn spring rolls, buffalo chicken ravioli served with a tomato jam, macaroni and cheese beignets, quinoa pear salad shots, spring onion donuts, and shrimp ceviche with grilled watermelon and a pomegranate mayonnaise.
5. The dessert buffet
As Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist everything but temptation.” The calorie count included Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie cheesecake,Girl Scout Samoa Cookie cheesecake, mini apple pies made from local Hudson apples, peach cobbler shots served with house granola, and red currant crème brûlée spoons. The Girl Scout helped with selling raffle tickets and keeping an eye on the models.
6. Feline celebrity guests
Guests included David Hanbury, who plays the title role in the musical comedy playing in New York, Mrs. Smith’s Broadway Cat-Tacular!
7. The outfits
Ada Nieves designed special outfits for the mewdels to honor the NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad and other first responders. She’s photographed here with Thunder Folds dressed as a Red Cross volunteer.
8. Mobile cat adoption
The event benefited the Mayor’s Alliance for New York’s Animals and a mobile unit outside the hotel hosted a feline adoption event. This beautiful orange tabby was one of many cats looking for a forever home.
9. The raffles
Pet product manufacturers donated a variety of items including water fountains, cat carriers, designer scratchers, and cat toys and treats. The piece de resistance was a six-foot-fall cat tree from Pet Tree Houses Inc., which designed Matilda’s posh digs. Here Alice de Almeida and I take stock before the event.
10. The cat models
Many cats in costume attended. Featured here are Zeus dressed as a fireman and Rocket dressed as a paramedic while the hotel’s General Manager Manny Rappenecker looks on.
Heres’s Tigger with his human police detective counterpart Lisa Bergen right and his parent Karen left.
Here’s Milo as a dogcatcher — of all things.
About the author: Sandy Robins is an award-winning multimedia pet lifestyle author. She has written three books. She is also the co-host of the web series Pet Product TV. Sandy lives in Southern California with her family, including cats Fudge and Ziggy. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.