Keith York City
Angelica Morales was an only child, born in New York to parents who were once prominent in Cuban society. But Angelica's father, a lawyer, died early, leaving Angelica and her mother Frances to fend for themselves. Angelica bolstered their income by taking commissions as an expert shopper for wealthy Cubans. They would send her their list of desired items, and she would shop for them and ship everything south on their behalf. When this became insufficient, Angelica took a job as a saleswoman at the Marseilles Style Shop, on Broadway at 103rd Street. But the job didn't last long, because the shop's long hours interfered with Angelica's true passion: dancing to live music at the city's great hotels. Often, she was escorted by a shadowy suitor known only as "Bob," and she would regularly bring along Frances as well. Angelica was devoted to her mother, and the two were rarely seen apart. She worried, though, that this devotion would prevent her from ever being able to marry. Tuesday, April 14, 1925 began like any day for the mother and daughter: they ate an early breakfast at home on W 91st Street, then made their way to Stern Bros. department store near Bryant Park to work on a shopping commission. At 1:00, Angelica told her mother she would go hear the music at the Hotel Commodore, and to wait for her at Stern's. Angelica walked to the hotel, near Grand Central, and requested a room for herself, saying she was visiting from Boston. She ascended to room 2249, walked to the window, climbed through, and plunged 22 stories to the street below. She landed atop a delivery cart on the west side of the hotel, and rolled onto the pavement. She was declared dead at the scene. Her purse was found in the hotel room, and from that, police called her home. Frances then called home, worried after not hearing from Angelica for more than 30 minutes, and was told the police were looking for her. Devastated, Frances claimed that Angelica had been "nervous" for 3 weeks prior. Friends were stunned by news of her death: "Why, she was engaged! She would be the last one in the world to die." Whatever caused Angelica to end her life so dramatically, she took those secrets with her.