Yesterday, we revisited some of the most luxurious hotels of New York's past, and today we're celebrating these grand beauties with more than 100 vintage photos of 10 historic hotels that have been lost forever. Most of these buildings were demolished in the mid-1900s, one burnt to the ground, and another was razed less than a decade ago. Today, skyscrapers and office buildings stand where they all once stood.
Built in 1904, the Hotel Astor was the successor to the Astor family's massive Waldorf-Astoria hotel (more on that below!). It was located on Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets, and it had a luxuriously landscaped rooftop garden and elaborate public rooms. Architects Clinton & Russell built the Beaux-Arts masterpiece, which boasted a long list of themed restaurants, banquet halls, galleries, and gardens. William Zeckendorf acquired the hotel in the 1950s, but then he went bankrupt in '65 and the hotel was demolished in 1967. Today, the 54-story One Astor Plaza occupies the site. Photos of the Hotel Astor:
The Biltmore Hotel opened as part of Grand Central's Terminal City in 1913. Architectural firm Warren and Wetmore designed the hotel, which had its own arrival corridor within Grand Central. There was also a private elevator that went directly to the Presidential Suite. Italian gardens decorated the rooftop between the north and south towers, and in the winter, the gardens were converted into an ice skating rink. In the 1980s, its owner gutted and stripped the hotel to its steel skeleton, even though it was landmarked. It was rebuilt as the bland 28-story 335 Madison Avenue, formerly known as the Bank of America Plaza. Photos of the Biltmore Hotel:
Warren and Wetmore also designed the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which rose on Madison Avenue at West 46th Street in 1917. The Ritz was considered one of the best hotels in the city, and it reached its prime around the time of WWI. In 1951, it was torn down to build a high-rise office building. Photos of the Ritz-Carlton:
In 1877, a wealthy businessman commissioned architect John Kellum to build a grand "Working Women" hotel for all the single ladies working in New York City. That business model didn't work out too well, and soon the hotel reopened as the Park Avenue Hotel. It's unclear why the beautiful cast-iron building was torn down in 1927, but today the site is occupied by, you guessed it, a high-rise. Photos of the Park Avenue Hotel:
Located at the southeast corner of Central Park, the Savoy-Plaza Hotel was part of a hotel trifecta with the Sherry-Netherland and Pierre. McKim, Mead, and White designed the building, and it opened in 1927. It had nearly 1,000 guest rooms, but the elegant Art Deco building lasted less than 40 years. In 1964, it was demolished in order to build the controversial General Motors skyscraper. Photos of the Savoy-Plaza Hotel:
The original Waldorf-Astoria was located at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, and it started as two separate hotels. The Waldorf rose first, in 1893, but when the Astoria was being constructed a few years later, the owners decided to join them so "Peacock Alley" was created as a connection between the two hotels. The hotel transformed redefined the contemporary hotel, making it a place not just for transient visitors but also a social hot spot for New York's high society. It was torn down in 1929 in order to build the Empire State Building, and its present-day successor was built not long after. Photos of the original Waldorf-Astoria:
The Fifth Avenue Hotel, built in 1859 at 200 Fifth Avenue, had the first passenger elevator ever installed in a U.S. hotel. It had a plain Italianate design, but inside, it offered guests the highest luxury available?including private bathrooms, something that was unheard of at the time. It closed in 1908 and was immediately demolished to make way for the Toy Center Building. Today, that building is on its way to becoming condos. Photos of the Fifth Avenue Hotel:
Built in 1871, the Windsor Hotel occupied an entire block along Fifth Avenue from 46th to 47th Streets. Critics said the hotel was too far uptown to succeed, but owner John Daly was banking on visitors coming to and from the new Grand Central Terminal. It was lavishly appointed, and Daytonian in Manhattan has a detailed account of the hotel's history. Again, people praised the amount of bathrooms (139, considered an outstanding number), and each of the suites had its own bathroom, a rarity for the time. Sadly, the hotel was destroyed in a fire in 1899. A few years later, the Windsor Arcade would rise in its place, only to be torn down and replaced by office buildings. Photos of the Windsor Hotel:
Like the Windsor Hotel, the Murray Hill Hotel was banking on the new Grand Central Terminal for guests. It rose on Park Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets in 1884, a few years after the Windsor. Architect Stephen Decatur Hatch designed the 600-room hotel, and the New York Times called it "very beau ideal of what an American hotel should be." The hotel had an elaborate kitchen service, including the "latest triumph of art and science"?an ice machine and five refrigerator rooms. In 1902, an explosion caused by subway construction under Park Avenue severely damaged the hotel, but it was quickly restored. The hotel lasted for another 45 years, but then it was demolished in 1947 to build a new office building. Photos of the Murray Hill Hotel:
Surprisingly, the most recent hotel to be demolished was the one we could find the least photos of. The Drake Hotel was built in 1926. It saw plenty of famous guests, and in the '60s and '70s became the preferred hotel for rock bands like Led Zeppelin and The Who. In 2006, developer Harry Macklowe bought the hotel, and we all know what happened next. He razed it in 2007, and last year, finally, began building 432 Park Avenue on the site.
· Hotels Week 2013 [Curbed]