F. Scott Fitzgerald set the Daisy Fay Buchanan wedding reception in 1917 at Otto Seelbach’s luxe downtown hotel, in a century-ago Jazz Age veering toward financial ruin. But today, only the Gatsby’s on Fourth restaurant echoes the literary past. Just past noon, background music is playing softly: Fletcher Henderson’s “Sugar Foot Stomp,” recorded in 1931. The cavernous lobby is paved in green granite, dark and cool, a pleasant contrast to the scorcher outside on noisy Fourth Street.
A middle-aged businessman — a guest? — slumps in the corner of a blue damask settee, barking into his cellphone about taxes, his voice reverberating across the lobby. A few feet away, four young women behind the reception desk whisper to each other, as one peers at a computer screen that bathes her face in white light.
Finally, a burst of life: A stout woman in khaki camp shorts and a busy floral-print shirt rushes in from Fourth, her white sneakers squeaking as she bee-lines for reception. A brief conversation, a quick exit, and the lobby is still again.