Herald Square Hotel, though grossly altered, remains a bright spot on West 31st Street – just across the street and down the block from the larger Hotel Wolcott. It’s also where some fascinating histories intersect.
The building, designed by Carrère & Hastings, was erected as the home of Life magazine in 1900. At the time, Life was the upscale humor magazine that discovered Charles Dana Gibson, the artist behind the famous “Gibson Girls.” Other contributors included Robert “Believe It Or Not!” Ripley and Norman Rockwell. Gibson had a studio in the building, and took over Life magazine after John Mitchell, one of the founders, died in 1918. The magazine went into decline, and was forced to sell the building. Ultimately Henry Luce bought Life for its name.
The building was converted to an apartment hotel in 1937 and has changed hands several times. It was purchased by the Puchall family in 1970, and restored over the years. However, the family made drastic alterations to the top floors in 1995, eliminating the mansard roof.
Herald Square Hotel Vital Statistics
- Location: 19 W 31st Street, between Fifth Avenue and Broadway
- Year completed: 1900
- Architect: Carrère & Hastings
- Floors: 8
- Style: Beaux Arts
Herald Square Hotel Suggested Reading
- Wikipedia entry (Life magazine)
- Daytonian article
- The New York Times article
- The Sun article
- Herald Square Hotel website