Tag Archives: Murgatroyd & Ogden

Barbizon Hotel for Women

Barbizon Hotel for Women, now known as the condominium apartments Barbizon 63, was built as a residential hotel catering to young professionals.

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) added the building to its roster in April 2012, noting that the structure is “an excellent representative of the 1920s apartment hotel building, and is notable for the high quality of its design.”

The zoning law of 1916 required setbacks – indented upper floors – on tall buildings to permit more light to reach the street. Complex arcades and courtyards in Barbizon Hotel’s setback design add visual interest to the tower. The complex brickwork, with a mix of colors and corbelling, adds visual rich texture, even from a distance.

Hotels for women were the ladies’ answer to late-1800s “bachelor flats” for men (e.g., The Wilbraham), and completed the quaint (by today’s standards) segregation of residences: for families, for single men, and for single women. (See also Beekman Tower Hotel, the former Panhellenic Tower.) See the LPC designation report for a great synopsis of New York City’s housing variety: tenements, apartments, french flats, rooming houses, residence and club hotels.

The first owners lost the hotel through foreclosure, but a second group led by Lawrence Elliman was able to show a profit by 1938. Quite a few now-famous women lived at the Barbizon through the mid-70s – by which time the hotel was again losing money. Between 1980 and 2001 the hotel changed hands five times, and then in 2005 it was converted to condominium apartments.

Barbizon Hotel for Women Vital Statistics
Barbizon Hotel for Women Recommended Reading

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Fraternity Clubs Building

Fraternity Clubs Building, aka Jolly Madison Towers Hotel, was built in 1923 by the Allerton Hotel Group, which specialized in club-like residence hotels. Allerton had six hotels in New York City. Now under its fifth name, the hotel still honors its past.

The Fraternity Clubs Building became Midston House in the 1930s, then Hotel Lancaster in the 1960s, then Madison Towers, and currently Jolly Madison Towers. The building is scantly covered in traditional architectural sources – but detailed on page 4 of the Delta Chi Quarterly 1994-95 Winter.

At street level the Renaissance Revival-style building is distinctive but not remarkable – the Madison Avenue facade looks a bit run down. A series of nine fraternal crests adorn the second story along both the Madison Avenue and E 38th Street facades; an unidentified bas relief ship (the Mayflower?) decorates the corner. The best views are the building’s east side, seen from Park Avenue. The tower’s tapestry brickwork, arches, arcades, octagonal cupolas, and red-tiled roofs are glorious.

Fraternity Clubs Building Vital Statistics
Fraternity Clubs Building Recommended Reading

Google Map