St Regis Hotel

In the New York portion of Live and Let Die, James Bond spends his nights at the St Regis, a hotel built by John Jacob Astor IV as a companion to the Waldorf-Astoria. The hotel opened in 1904.

They drew up at the best hotel in New York, the St Regis, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street.

st-regis-new-york-exterior

 Dexter unlocked the door of No. 2100 and shut it behind them. They were in a small lighted lobby. They left their hats and coats on a chair and Dexter opened the door in front of them and held it for Bond to go through.

He walked into an attractive sitting-room decorated in Third Avenue ‘Empire’ – comfortable chairs and a broad sofa in pale yellow silk, a fair copy of an Aubusson on the floor, pale grey walls and ceiling, a bow-fronted French sideboard with bottles and glasses and a plated ice-bucket, a wide window through which the winter sun poured out of a Swiss-clear sky. The central heating was just bearable.

The communicating door with the bedroom opened.

As noted by John Griswold, the St Regis only has 20 floors. (So his room should’ve been 2000) He notes that Fleming meant to place Bond on the top floor of the hotel, and the confusion may have arisen in the different between the British and American methods of floor counting. The second story is considered to be the first floor for buildings in England.

Bond is then reunited with Felix Leiter.

Before their trek out to Harlem, Bond and Leiter arrange to meet in the King Cole Bar on the ground floor. This LIFE magazine ad from the 1950’s captures how the bar looked at that time:

kc-st-regis

When Bond leaves the hotel for the last time in the story, he does not go out the main entrance. Seeking to avoid being spotted, Bond “came out of the entrance of the St Regis drugstore, on 55th street which has a connecting door to the hotel.”

In the short story 007 In New York, (1963) the St Regis casually mentioned – As for the hotels, they too had gone – the Ritz Carlton, the St Regis that had died with Michael Arlen.

Arlen was an acquaintance and influence on Fleming – he mentioned him in a Author’s note on Live and Let Die that “Michael Arlen told me to write my second book before I had seen the reviews of the first & this was written in January & February 1953 at Goldeneye, Jamaica.”

Arlen was practically a full-time resident of the St Regis, and had died in 1956. It appears that to Fleming, a large part of the St Regis died with him.

An ad for the hotel from 1953 – the year Live and Let Die was written:

st-regis-ad

 

R.C.A. Building, Rockefeller Centre

This iconic New York location is where James Bond operated one of his first missions, as recalled in Casino Royale.

‘Well, in the last few years I’ve killed two villains. The first was in New York — a Japanese cipher expert cracking our codes on the thirtysixth floor of the RCA building in the Rockefeller centre, where the Japs had their consulate. I took a room on the fortieth floor of the nextdoor skyscraper and I could look across the street into his room and see him working. Then I got a colleague from our organization in New York and a couple of Remington thirty-thirty’s with telescopic sights and silencers. We smuggled them up to my room and sat for days waiting for our chance. He shot at the man a second before me. His job was only to blast a hole through the windows so that I could shoot the Jap through it. They have tough windows at the Rockefeller centre to keep the noise out. It worked very well. As I expected, his bullet got deflected by the glass and went God knows where. But I shot immediately after him, through the hole he had made. I got the Jap in the mouth as he turned to gape at the broken window.’  Bond smoked for a minute.

‘It was a pretty sound job. Nice and clean too. Three hundred yards away. No personal contact.

Here is a look at how the RCA Building looked in the mid-1950’s.

rca-rockefeller-1950s