A Goodbye Get-Together
For the Watergate Hotel
Evelyn Y. Davis, like many of her neighbors at the Watergate East co-op, was against the sale of the famous Watergate Hotel to a developer who wants to turn it into more co-op units.
But that didn't stop her from going Wednesday night to the party hosted by developer Michael J. Darby to celebrate closing a deal barely a week ago to buy the 251-room hotel.
"Evelyn, what are you doing here?" asked Allan Weingold, a retired doctor who also lives at the Watergate and did not oppose the sale.
"Why should I not go to a good party?" Davis fired back, as she smiled and moved on to mingle with others.
Waiters poured champagne and passed plates of sushi, rare roast beef and mini chocolate cheesecakes among the roughly 150 guests -- who were friends and foes of the sale -- in the ballroom of the hotel. The developers unveiled drawings and pictures of what their co-ops -- Belles Rives at the Watergate -- will look like. The hotel will remain open over the next year and then be turned into 133 co-op units, which will open in early 2006.
The party crowd included bankers, lawyers, and young engineers, plus some well-coifed women with Louis Vuitton bags.
As he munched on a sweet, Weingold scanned the crowd.
"There are a lot of suits here," he said, nodding towards a group of twentysomethings near the bar.
His wife, Marjorie Weingold, said: "They have to be in PR, real estate or something."
Allan chimed in: "Because they can't afford to live here."
One elderly man said, "Don't you know who I am? I'm famous," but then refused to identify himself.
The party came after a year-long fight between Monument Realty LLC and some residents of the Watergate East complex, a co-op building next to the hotel, who opposed the sale.
There are still some tensions over the sale. "I don't want it sold," said Ethel Mullin, who has lived at the Watergate East for 23 years. "I voted against the sale although that didn't help. Where we're sitting belongs to me. . . . Well, I mean to Watergate East."
At another cocktail table, other Watergate residents -- the Weingolds and socialite Anna Chennault -- said that while they were sorry to see the hotel sold, they realized it wasn't making money.
"We're sorry this is the way it ended, but that's its fate," Chennault said.
-- Dana Hedgpeth