Once populated by scores of career girls seeking refuge in the big city, former women's residence the Barbizon Hotel is now up for landmark status. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, and the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts is now arguing for local historical cred at a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on July 26.
Built in 1927, the 23-story residential hotel typifies the grand, eclectically-styled apartment buildings dotting upper Manhattan. Its steel frame is encased in pink brick tricked out with "eclectic Renaissance and Gothic revival style" details in limestone and terra cotta.
Onetime resident Sylvia Plath (room 1511) wrote in her 1963 novel The Bell Jar that the gussied-up dormitory was populated by wealthy girls whose protective parents “wanted to make sure their daughters were living in a place where men couldn’t get at them and deceive them.”
In its heyday, the 9x12 foot rooms, decked out in pink and green, ran the "girls" (Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Joan Didion, Little Edie Beale, and a constant supply of Ford models) as little as $12 a week. Contrast that with the building's condo conversion in 2006, turning those glorified cubicles into luxury apartments starting at $1 million and attracting the likes of Ricky Gervais.
· Hotel Once Home to Famous Single Ladies Could Become Landmark [DNAInfo]
· Buyers: Ricky Gervais [Curbed]