Or to most, the Algonquin Round Table or Viscous Circle. I call them the Lost Generation of New York City because the round table began the same time the Expat’s ventured to Paris and the Bright Young People began to gather in London. All three worlds started to meld around the world in search of the now or the new. The term lost generation really can be used anywhere in the this period after WWI and before the great crash & Great Depression. The Algonquin Round Table sprung from a welcome home party thrown by a theater press agent John Peter Toohey for broadway reviewer Alexander Woollcott. Toohey joked that the gathering should become a regular meeting and so came to life the Vicious Circle.
While Toohey and Woollcott were the original catalyst, it was Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman and Robert Benchley who powered and attracted many members to come almost every day of the week. The group was made up many walks of life from New York City, from future great names of literature and journalism and even the founders of the New Yorker Harold Ross and his wife Jane Grant. The group was even visited by regulars outside of the typical member backgrounds. For example, actors Tallulah Bankhead and Harpo Marx to great playwrights like Donald Ogden Stewart (Philadelphia Story) and Edna Ferber (Show Boat and Giant).
The some regulars even crossed the Atlantic to mesh with other Los Generation circles. Bankhead frequented of both the Vicious Circle and the Bright Young People and the New York’s Ogden Stewart partied all night ,many times over in Paris. The circle had it’s dark moments but there was so much greatness that came from the gathering. So much greatness, New York City designated the hotel dinning room a historic landmark back in the 80’s. Check out that amazing movie about the circle made back in the 90’s titled Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle. The cast is just busting at the seems with early performances by some of today’s top stars and actors.