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Name:Hawaiian Room, Lexington Hotel, NYC
Type:restaurant
Street:Lexington Ave. and 48th St.
City:Ney York
State:NY
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
Pre-Tiki but I thought the information was good. From a 1958 article on NYC restaurants.

The Hawaiian Room in the Lexington Hotel, Lexington Ave. and 48th St., is and has been for the past 20 years one of the most colorful spots in town. Until recently it was actually better known in Honolulu or San Francisco than in New York. Recent television shows using the room as a background have made New Yorkers more aware of it.

The story of the HAWAIIAN ROOm dates from 1937.

The management of the Lexington Hotel, completed six months before the market crash of 1929 and costing $5,000,000, found itself stuck with a large and useless basement dining room. In 1932, it opened as the SilveL Grill, featuring bandleaders Ozzie Nelson, Little Jack Little, Artie Shaw and Carl Ravel (now Carl Ravazza) .

When its popularity waned, the manager, Charles Rochester, decided to experiment for a few months with all-Hawaiian entertainment in a cafe decorated with South Sea motifs and featuring Polynesian food. In 1937, the HAWAIIAN ROOm opened with Andy Iona as bandleader and Ray Kinney as featured singer. In '38, Kinney returned to Hawaii and brought back with him a trio of lovely hula dancers—Napua, Mapawana and Pualani; also a singing comedienne called Hilo Hattie, whose specialty was "The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai." The show was an instantaneous success and the pattern has varied little from then on.

Two years ago Restaurant Associates took over management of all the Hotel Lexington restaurants, with Jerome Brody, Joseph Baum and Alan Lewis—all in their thirties—to direct and manage the room. Lewis had fallen in love with Hawaii during the war and paid several return visits, so was a natural for his post.

Though the HAWAIIAN ROOm chefs are Swiss, the menu now features a greater variety of Polynesian dishes (not to be confused with Chinese) than ever. The drinks, fantastic concoctions involving coconuts and other tropical fruits, never fail to make a hit with visiting firemen. And the "old lady" always enjoys seeing her husband get up and make a fool of himself by trying to dance the hula in the "audience participation" numbers.

The motto of the HAWAIIAN ROOm is "Aloha," a very elastic word which can mean "hello," "good-by," "glad to see you," or—stretching it a bit—"if you can't come to the Islands, let the Islands come to you."

Trav,

I met Sabu at Bamboo Ben's Nooner and we talked about starting a post for this one, you beat us to it.

One of my favorite pre-tiki Hawaiian places that was around for ever. Obviously a swinging dance spot.

Here are some postcards of the dance floor - old and newer versions.

This postcard is with Ray Kinney and his aloha maids - check out that stage.

A nice little cover charge table topper.

One of my favorite die cut drink menus.
(Check out the alliteration on the Polynesian Fire!)

The entertainment list.

A souvenir photo frame.

And a magazine ad.

I have some menus some where I'll have to find.

Sabu can post the album that was recorded here.

DC

One of the menus

The matchbook

DC

Found some more interesting info on the Hawaiian Room. A story on the music.

Live radio and TV shows from the Hawaiian Room, pretty cool.

Some photos of Lani McIntire and the band and album.

A swizzle from Tiki Kates collection

Another cover charge somewhat older and cheaper than the one I posted before.

DC

Here's a cute promotional calendar from 1945:

Under her skirt are twelve little calendar pages. As to what's under the last calendar page; I'll leave that to your imaginations.


[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-11-28 15:42 ]

T

I saw this recently and thought it was a cool menu cover so I would show it here. There was one that was posted above by Dustycajun but this one was a slightly different color and also had a interesting signature on it. Here it is:

The signature on the cover says "M. Pereira Mgr. Hawaiian Room". I thought that was pretty neat to see that that manager had signed the menu for someone.

In the auction description, it also stated "The restaurant opened in 1937 and billed itself as the "Eastern outpost of Hawaii" many Hawaiian musicians and dancers performed there including Hilo Hattie, George Kainapau and Sam Koki."

And inside shot:

Some of the pricing was Main Full Course Meals such as Hawaiian Festival Chicken Run $3.85 Sliced Pork, Tenderloin Haole Luau $3.75, Soup of the day .50 Cents Appetizers were $1-2.

They sure used alot of Hula Girls in the Hawaiian Rooms promotional pieces and art work. Great to see these vintage items still coming up!

Mahalo,
TabooDan

If you happened to win this item, I will gladly adjust this post so you can post your item. This goes back to the discussions of posting items that you see online and don't actually have or win in an auction. Do you still post them here on TC? I say Yes because otherwise interested people might never get to see them. It's always good to see what is out there from some of these long gone places and together in one place is great!

The Hawaiian Room must have advertised pretty heavily in those early days when South Seas clubs were few and far between on the East Coast.

Here's an 1941 photo of a bus depot in Lowell Mass. showing a poster ad for the Hawaiian Room in New York. I'd love to find one of those big posters.

Z
Zeta posted on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 6:15 PM


From the back of this postcard (posted by DustyCajun above)

Tropical rain storm... Which was the first bar/restaurant to feature that trick? Who's the inventor?

[ Edited by: Zeta 2010-01-19 18:20 ]

A nice little recipe book from the Hawaiian Room I saw on the flea.

Some very tasty dishes.

DC

Shakin' advertisement for the Hawaiian Room.

DC

Saw this nice old menu from the Hawaiian Room on the internet.

Also, a color shot of the Lani McIntire album cover with a Tiki mask on it.

DC

although i suspect there is none, i have wondered if there is any connection between the hawaiian room in the hotel lexington, nyc, and the hawaiian room in the emerson hotel in baltimore, md - http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=9160&forum=1

S

DC,
I just ripped my set of 78 EPs of those records last week. They are so lame I didn't bother to share them! He got so much better later. My copy is date July 1947. The place survived well intot he 60s as many of the Mai-Kai performers would work there in the off season.

S

Just remembered to upload this. If you are interested in hearing that record set, GO HERE. One record broke, but as I said, this is pretty tepid stuff.

Here is another souvenir photo with a nice interior shot of the Hawaiian Room from ebay.

A black and white Ray Kinney postcard.

And a poster advertising the Lani McIntire show.

DC

Here is another old photo of Ray Kinney and his group at the Hawaiian Room stage.

DC

S
Swanky posted on Tue, May 8, 2012 8:49 AM

At my presentation at Hukilau, a lady approached me about a Hawaiian Room anniversary something or other she was doing. I need to contact her. My presentation had footage from 1937 in the Hawaiian Room with Pualani Mossman Avon, who was lead dancer there and was part of Ray Kinney's Aloha Maids.

Anyone know about this anniversary thing? Will it be in NYC or Hawaii? I think they wanted me to participate. I'll share when I know more.

I picked up a souvenir photo holder from the Hawaiian Room.

A different cover than the other ones posted.

The photo inside.

Interesting to compare this photo to and older one.

You can see that the Hawaiian Room was becoming less Hawaiian and more Tiki with Tapa tablecloths and lamps.

Then it went full Tiki as seen in this photo.

Tiki lamps Tiki drinks, and a custom Tiki mug. It was around long enough to make the Tiki transition.

DC

Great photo timeline DC...nice work! OGR

Thanks OGR,

Here are a few more old ads from the Hawaiian Room.

I like the description on this one - "Taking the town by Storm" with the tropical Hurricane, complete with rain, lightning and thunder"! Sounds like Trader Sam's.

DC

evidence from the book "aloha america: hula circuits through the u.s. empire," suggests that there is a direct relationship between the hawaiian room in the hotel lexington in NYC and the hawaiian room at the emerson hotel in baltimore http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=40757&forum=2 : "Te Moana Makolo was part of the last group of Lexington dancers in the early 1960s, becoming the lead choreographer of the show. She, too, had an itinerant career as a professional hula dancer. After the Hawaiian Room closed in 1966, she opened a Hawaiian room at the Emerson Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, and continued on an overseas USO circuit with the performer Johnny Kaonohi Pineapple in the early 1970s." http://books.google.com/books?id=AgH9xngze1cC&pg=PA207&lpg=PA207&dq=%22te+Moana+Makolo%22&source=bl&ots=1ClAG4ribc&sig=_owqzHg60DseWXL_EjSqfEqGd3k&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UTyeUPHaFI3D0AHH7oG4Aw&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

[ Edited by: Johnny Dollar 2012-11-10 03:55 ]

Recently acquired two matchboxes from the Hawaiian Room that aren't in this thread.
Here's the interesting (to us) side with artwork that matches the recipe brochure posted by DustyCajaun:

and the hotel on the obverse:

Don't know the year, 50s? Note the phone number, PLaza 5-4400. Which plaza? the Plaza hotel? Doesn't seem close enough to give name to the exchange .

Another souvenir photo from the Hawaiian Room. What's with the mad dad?

DC

P

interesting find on some hawaiian room history. apparently cleveland had one back in the day at the mayfair casino (it's in the sub-text)

led me to finding this text in the book "Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World" by Jane C. Desmond

another ad, this one from the new york times, november 24, 1959.

Anyone have the recipe for a "Jaded Lady" ?

On 2013-07-23 13:02, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
Anyone have the recipe for a "Jaded Lady" ?

the main google hits appear to be something along the lines of

1 ounce gin
1 ounce blue curacao
1 ounce advocaat
1 1/3 ounces fresh orange juice
Directions:

1 Add all the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice.
2 Shake vigorously.
3 Strain into a cocktail glass.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/jaded-lady-121884?layout=desktop&oc=linkback">http://www.food.com/recipe/jaded-lady-121884?layout=desktop&oc=linkback

Found a great photo of Duke Khanamoku with the dancers at the Hawaiian Room on-line.

This is the description of the photo:

Celebrities LOVED the Hawaiian Room - it was THE place to be. This time Duke Kahanamoku was there with his "Aloha Patrol" hat (love it!) and posed with dancers L->R: Betty Makia, Loma Duke, Mealii Horio, and Mayedel Silva.

Also saw this postcard sent from Duke to his wife from the Hawaiian Room in 1953.

DC

Old news-wire photo from 1939 with Meymo Holt, a singer at the Hawaiian Room.

To appear at the 1939 World's Fair for Hawaii Day, with 5,000 free leis!

DC

[ Edited by: Hakalugi - Changed "Meyme" to "Meymo" - 2015-02-11 15:40 ]

8T

From the Reminisce EXTRA magazine March 2015 Page 39.
Taken in 1961. Check out the cool tiki lamp. The edge of the tablecloth says "Aloha Hawaiian Room"


I once was lost.....but now I'm found.....

Picked this one up last year at a thrift store or a garage sale (don't recall which now). There is a variety of drinkware in the picture but I don't see any Tiki mugs which may help date it (or not).

The back says it cost 2.50 and came from "Reputable Service Co", 820 Second Ave NY. That price suggests to me early 60s but I'm really just guessing here!

[ Edited by: Aloha pinball 2016-04-22 08:28 ]

some more souvenir photos from the ebaze:

Nice Menu!

Another old sovineer photo from the Hawaiian Room.

DC

One of the great one-off exotica albums is called, um, "Exotica," by Ted Auletta. It is on the Cameo-Parkway label, circa 1962. The liner notes indicate that he played at the Hawaiian Room of the Lexington. I wonder if there is any existing ephemera related to his tenure.

That Ted Auluetta album Exotica cover is pretty nice!

Here are a few more photos of the table lamp and table cloth designs at the Hawaiian Room.

DC

[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2020-03-17 16:38 ]

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