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President Attends Birthday Dinner at Four Seasons

May 19, 1962 - President Kennedy attended a glittering birthday dinner in his honor tonight at the Four Seasons restaurant — a prelude to his birthday salute at Madison Square Garden afterward. About 375 persons, all of whom had contributed $1,000 to the birthday rally, filled the three rooms of the restaurant on the main floor of the Seagram building, Park Avenue and 52nd Street. A thousand persons lined the south side of 52nd Street to shout their greetings as the President arrived shortly before 7:30 p.m. Mr. Kennedy smiled and waved as his limousine slowed to a halt. Instead of entering the restaurant immediately he crossed the street to shake hands and talk briefly to a youth behind the police barrier. The youth, Charles Acosta, 20 years old, said he had asked the President how his back was. “Fine,” replied the President. Mr. Kennedy apparently did not know the youth and picked him at random for the unexpected greeting. As the crowd cheered, the President re-crossed the street and entered the restaurant. He was greeted by six hostesses and members of the committee in charge of the celebration. An elaborate menu listed crab meat in seashells, chicken broth with spring wheat, medallions of beef glazed in Madeira wine, herbed carrots, and woodland mushrooms. There was a 600-pound birthday cake for dessert. The dinner lasted for an hour and a half, and the President table-hopped much of the time, shaking hands with the guests. After the guests had departed, Mr. Kennedy stayed on for 25 minutes to eat his dinner. The President left the restaurant for Madison Square Garden at 8:50 p.m., accompanied by Mayor and Mrs. Wagner.

#JFK #1960s #history #OTD #podcast #politics #NYC #birthday