Not Even 9/11 Could Stop Brooke Astor From Her Appointed Lunch


A recurring benchmark in the trial over whether Brooke Astor's son pushed her into willing him more money after she was too senile to know what she was doing is that the society doyenne didn't seem to know 9/11 was happening, or to remember it afterward. Finally we get more details about that day from the front manager at the Knickerbocker Club, where Astor had lunch reservations on September 11, 2001. John Shea called her that day, as they called everyone with a reservation, to urge her to stay at home. From the Post:

"I advised her to remain home and she asked me why," Shea told Manhattan Supreme Court jurors weighing swindle evidence against Astor's son Anthony Marshall, 85. The club manager said he explained to Astor: "Well, the Trade Center seems to be under attack." Shea also testified that he told Astor that cops might limit Manhattan traffic. "'No one is going to stop my car," she said. "I will be there.'"

If her marbles were gone, it's at least notable that her iron will was still intact (or maybe it was her hubris? Hard to tell). But poor old Mrs. Astor had an excuse for turning up at lunch that terrible day — she really wasn't in her right mind. The sad part of this story is that batty, beloved old Mrs. Astor wasn't the only person who showed up.