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42nd Street's Helmsley Hotel Losing the Helmsley Touch

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The gloriously tacky New York Helmsley Hotel at 42nd Street between Second and Third Avenues is, the Observer's Dana Rubinstein reports, about to undergo a major makeover. That's not surprising considering the hotel is decked out like a spare set from American Psycho, but it still makes us a bit misty-eyed. Gone from the lobby will be the red-and-gold carpet, the interlocking H's, Harry's New York Bar and other reminders that this tower was once part of the empire of Harry and Leona "Queen of Mean" Helmsley. The name will remain, but a rendering of the new lobby (above) might as well be a Holiday Inn in Anywhereville.

The suspicion is the Helmsley trust will try to sell the hotel once the market rebounds, just like with the Helmsley Park Lane on Central Park South. Ironically, had uber-bitch Leona Helmsley sold the hotel before passing away in 2007 and leaving her billions to the animal kingdom, the Helmsley tradition might have been secured: She often worked terms such as maintaining the Helmsley name or, uh, erecting a Harry Helmsley monument into building deals. In the gallery above, a few looks at the current state of the New York Helmsley Hotel, via user photos posted on TripAdvisor. Hotel management will really be sorry once '80s retro comes back into style.
· Exorcising Leona From the Helmsley Hotel She Made Famous [NYO]