50. “A Comfortable Monastery”

Beginning in December 1940, Hoover spent most of each year in New York City at Suite 31-A of the Waldorf Towers. The famous hotel was a self-contained community serviced by 155 telephone operators, 200 cooks, and a small army of security men.  

When in need of fresh air, Hoover strolled up Park Avenue. Construction workers greeted him warmly and others took a protective interest in the elderly former president. "Mr. Hoover," announced a would-be burglar one evening, "you should not be walking around in the dark this time of night. Now go home."

Home consisted of four rooms, one of them an office for up to five secretaries. Here Hoover conducted possibly the most productive ex-presidency in U. S. history. At the age of 86, Hoover traveled 14,000 miles, delivered 20 speeches, and accepted the latest of his 468 awards and citations. Said Hoover: 

"There is no joy to be had from retirement, except in some kind of productive work. Otherwise you degenerate into talking to everybody about your pains and pills. The point is not to retire from work or you will shrivel up into a nuisance to all mankind."

Key – Hoover's personal passage to Suite 31A in the Waldorf Towers.

Herbert Hoover in his suite at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.