A 1930’s scavenger hunt at the Waldorf Astoria involved finding monkeys and goats


Back in the days before annoying things like animal rights groups and, well, ethics, got in the way, rich people used to love playing games that involved exotic pets and petty theft.

Take, for instance, a legendary scavenger party that was held in 1933 at the Waldorf Astoria for socialites by the gossip columnist Elsa Maxwell. According to the New York Times, the list of items to be found included a live monkey, a “live goat (non-political), a red lantern, the most beautiful woman in New York (not present at the party), the future Mayor of New York City or his signature, dated last night … the initialed handkerchief of New York’s most charming and honest banker, a shoe of Jimmy Durante, the wittiest, funniest or most amusing man in New York (who was not participating in the hunt) and the right man on Park Avenue with a card.” Sounds easy enough!

The prize? $500 for first place, a case of “post-repeal” champagne for third.

One man couldn’t find a monkey or a goat, so brought a honey-bear cub he had stolen from a “Broadway Nickelodeon” instead. Everyone stole red lanterns from the streets, but apparently the police were cool with it and agreed that anyone “who had taken red lanterns from the streets would not receive summonses if the lanterns were returned within a reasonable time.”

After all, why should regular folk have streetlights if they can put to better use providing sport for bored rich people? [NYT]