This grand hotel replaces the combined Waldorf and Astoria Hotels that were torn down to make way for the Empire State Building. References to its predecessors live on in its Empire Room and Peacock Alley. The three-story Grand Ballroom can comfortably accommodate 6,000 people, but it was strained to its limit the night the hotel opened and 20,000 guests showed up. Those who came by car arrived via a covered driveway that runs right through the building. This, among other more obvious amenities, has made the hotel a favored destination of security-conscious world leaders since the beginning.