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liam Kissam II became president of the New York Central Railroad Company on his father's death in 1920. Harold Stirling graduated from Harvard Law School in 1910, then joined his father at the New York Central Railroad Company. He remained the only active representative of the Vanderbilt family in the New York Central Railroad after his brother's death, serving as a director and member of the executive committee until 1954.[citation needed] Rise in society Balls and dances, the Fifth Avenue chateau Alva Vanderbilt, costumed for her 1883 ball. Determined to bring the Vanderbilt family the social status that she felt they deserved, Vanderbilt christened the Fifth Avenue chateau—placed between 5th avenue and 52nd Street, occupying a city block—in March 1883 with a masquerade ball for 1000 guests, costing a reported $3 million. "The New York World speculated that Alva’s party cost [at least] more than a quarter of a m illion dollars, more than $5 million in today’s dollars" wrote Roark et al. An oft-repeated story tells that Vanderbilt felt she had been snubbed by Caroline Astor, queen of "The 400" elite of New York society, so she purposely neglected to send an invitation to her housewarming ball, a dress ball of about 750 guests, to Astor's popular daughter, Carrie. Supposedly, this forced Astor to come calling, in order to secure an invitation to the ball for her daughter. Astor did in fact pay a social call on Vanderbilt and she and her daughter were guests at the ball, effectively giving the Vanderbilt family society's official acceptance (Vanderbilt and Astor were observed at the ball in animated conversation). "We have no right to exclude those whom this great country has brought forward," Astor conceded, "The time has come for the Vanderbilts." Triumphant, Alva dressed as a venetian noble to the ball, but her sister-in-law Alice outdid her, dressing as a then brand-new invention: the electric light. Her white satin evening dress, aptly named the Electric Light dress, was stu