Tag Archives: 1921

Plaza Hotel

The century-old Plaza Hotel has changed hands several times, but it remains an architectural – and hospitality – landmark. As such, the Plaza has accumulated a history that is both educational and entertaining.

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report for the hotel’s interiors is a rich narrative about the hotel, its owners, architects, renovations and occupants. The Wikipedia entry adds more popular details, such as the movies and television shows in which the Plaza has appeared.

Trivia buffs, add this to your repertoire: The current property is the second Plaza Hotel on this site; the first hotel (also considered among the finest in New York) was demolished after 15 years to make way for an even grander property. Also: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts manages the Plaza – and also Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza – which was also designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh.

Hardenbergh also designed the Dakota Apartments, the Western Union Telegraph Company Building, and the Schermerhorn Building in New York. He designed the Waldorf and Astoria Hotels (then located at Fifth Avenue from 33rd to 34th Streets), among other prominent buildings now demolished.

Plaza Hotel Vital Statistics
  • Location: Central Park South at Grand Army Plaza
  • Year Completed: 1909; addition, 1921
  • Architect: Henry Janeway Hardenbergh; addition, Warren & Wetmore
  • Floors: 20
  • Style: Second Empire Baroque
  • New York City Landmark: 1969
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1978
Plaza Hotel Suggested Reading

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One Broadway

One Broadway is a building within a building: Strip away the 1921 Neo-Classical white limestone skin and you’ll find a red brick and brownstone Queen Anne-style structure built in 1887.

(For a rare look at the “before,” take a look at Archiseek‘s article.)

Also beneath the facade, you’ll find layers of history – condensed here from the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission report:

The 1887 building, built on the site of a home reputedly used by General Washington, was named the Washington Building. It was built for Cyrus W. Field, whose Atlantic Telegraph Company laid the first transatlantic telegraph cable. The architect, Edward H. Kendall, also designed the Gorham Mfg. Building and the Methodist Book Concern.

J.P. Morgan’s International Mercantile Marine Company (IMMC) bought the building in 1919; Walter B. Chambers re-designed the structure inside and out. With competitor Cunard Line just a few doors up Broadway, the International Mercantile Marine Company Building became the anchor for “Steamship Row.” IMMC operated numerous subsidiaries, including Titanic‘s White Star Line. By 1940 internal mergers reduced the company to United States Lines, which took over the building from 1941 to 1979. Allstate Life Insurance Co. bought the building at a foreclosure sale in 1992 and financed a $2 million restoration in 1993-1994.

The building is now occupied by a branch of Citibank and Kenyon & Kenyon LLP – an intellectual property law firm.

One Broadway Vital Statistics
One Broadway Recommended Reading

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