NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan hosted its 11th Annual Celebration & Cat Fashion Show on Aug. 3, this year presenting the theme of Tony Award-winning musicals to a sold-out crowd of ailurophiles.
The show raised $12,000 for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and led to the adoption of three feline fashion models at the end of the event.
The Algonquin, which is known for the legendary Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, is also home to the famed Algonquin Cat. For years it was believed that the hotel had a feline mascot since the 1930s, when a stray named Rusty wandered in. However, the hotel recently discovered the origins date back even further, to the late 1920s.
After the Algonquin acquired an out-of-print book written by the hotel’s first general manager, Frank Case, a chapter was discovered about a cat named Billy. According to the account, the cat later named Rusty appeared two days after Billy passed.
Actor John Barrymore was a resident at the time, and Rusty was renamed Hamlet in his honor. (Hamlet is said to have been Barrymore’s greatest stage role.)
The Algonquin has had a total of 11 cats, including Billy. The lineage includes seven Hamlets and three Matildas, all of whom have been rescues. The current Matilda began her residence in December of 2010.
“She was left in a box outside the North Shore Animal League,” the Algonquin’s Alice de Almeida told 1010 WINS in June, “so it’s very important for everyone to realize how many “kids” are out there that need forever homes.”