I'd like to know why Meyer Wolfshiem calls the Metropole "old" in the chapter Four of The Great Gatsby in so far as this hotel was built in 1912 and was the first one to have running water in every room. Is this an hypocoristic term or a confusion with the old Metropole, a restaurant, closed in may 1909?
“The old Metropole."
“The old Metropole,” brooded Mr. Wolfsheim gloomily. “Filled with faces dead and gone. Filled with friends gone now forever. I can’t forget so long as I live the night they shot Rosy Rosenthal there.
In The Great Gatsby, at the Metropole, Jay Gatsby introduces Nick to Meyer Wolfsheim, a business acquaintance:
In a cellar restaurant on 42nd Street, Nick is introduced to Meyer Wolfsheim, a racketeer, who offers him a business “gonnection.” Almost in the same breath he reminisces about a former “gonnection,” Rosy Rosenthal, who had been gunned down, ostensibly by underworld connections.
Meyer Wolfsheim reminisces about the Metropole. He refers to it as the "old Metropole."
'The old Metropole,' brooded Mr. Wolfshiem gloomily. 'Filled with faces dead and gone. Filled with friends gone now forever. I can’t forget so long as I live the night they shot Rosy Rosenthal there.'
It is important to notice that Nick states that Meyer Wolfsheim "brooded." The term "brooded" is significant. Wolfsheim is very moody in his comment. He is providing evidence of his sentimentality as he broods over the "old Metropole" where his friend Rosenthal was shot and murdered.
Gatsby comments on Mr. Wolfsheim's sensitivity:
'He becomes very sentimental sometimes,' explained Gatsby. 'This is one of his sentimental days. He’s quite a character around New York—a denizen of Broadway.'
Mr. Wolfsheim was with Rosenthal when he was shot and murdered at the Metropole. In fact, Mr. Wolfsheim claims that he tried to get Rosenthal to stay inside the Metropole on the night of his murder. Rosenthal was killed by an underworld connection. The murder was reported to be initiated by a crooked policeman named Becker.
The fact that Mr. Wolfsheim is associated with violent murderers and crooked people is significant. Gatsby is friends with Mr. Wolfsheim and admits that Wolfsheim committed criminal activity. By being friends with Wolfsheim, this supports the belief that Gatsby is involved in illegal activity.
Mr. Wolfsheim is a sentimental man who is referring to the incident at the Metropole as the "old Metropole." Wolfsheim is not indicating that the Metropole is old. He is using a hypocoristic term in a sentimental way. Wolfsheim remembers the murder of Rosenthal with sadness. After all, Wolfsheim tried to stop Rosenthal from going outside the Metropole on the night Rosenthal was murdered.
When Nick asked if Wolfsheim is a dentist, Gatsby says no:
'Meyer Wolfshiem? No, he’s a gambler.' Gatsby hesitated, then added cooly: 'He's the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919.'
When Nick asks why Wolfsheim isn't in jail, Gatsby uses the sentimental term "old sport" in his endearing reference to Wolfsheim:
'They can't get him, old sport. He's a smart man.'
Clearly, the term "old" is just a term meaning cherished or dear. It is used as a term of affection or familiarity. No doubt, Wolfsheim is not saying that the Metropole is old as in years. He is expressing his sad reminiscences of losing his friend Rosenthal there.