The Art Deco New Yorker Hotel, located at Eighth Avenue and 34th Street, is just two blocks from the neighborhood-changing Hudson Yards megaproject, and it was this multibillion development, along with the extension of the 7 train and Manhattan West, that inspired the hotel's owners to embark on a full makeover. The Journal reports that the owners, a subsidiary of the Unification Church, signed a new franchise agreement with the Wyndham Worldwide Corp. to upgrade the New Yorker from the budget-minded Ramada brand to a higher-end Wyndham Hotel & Resorts property. About $30 million has already been spent on renovations of the lobby and ballroom, and blocks of commercial space on the 42-story building's lower 18 floors are being converted into 172 additional hotel rooms. The hotel currently holds 912 rooms, and when all of the changes are complete, that number could jump to 1,500. As leases expire over the next five years, 270,000-square-feet of space will be freed up and turned into guest rooms.
The massive changes coming to Midtown West convinced the owners to upgrade. As a Wyndham, they'll be able to charge $50 to $100 more per night than as a Ramada, and they are already getting ready for 2017 or 2018, when Fashion Week is expected to move to the Culture Shed at Hudson Yards. The New Yorker's director of sales and marketing told the Journal, "We will eye the buyers and the designers and the models and the fashion consultants and anybody else we can think of. And we will have the perfect place for them to stay."
The New Yorker first opened in 1930 with 2,503 rooms, and for decades, it was a hot spot for the rich and famous. It's gone through multiple renovations and ownership changes, and eventually closed down in 1972 after operating as a Hilton since the 1950s. The Holy Spirit Association, a subsidiary of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification church group, bought the building in 1976 and used it to house followers for 18 years. Then, in 1994, the church converted 150 rooms back into a hotel. It became part of the Ramada franchise in 2000, and renovations that year and in 2007 brought the room total to 912.
Now, under the Wynham brand, the hotel hopes to recapture some of its original grandness with the current renovations. Even the New Yorker's iconic sign, which has crowned the building for 75 years, is also getting spiffed up. The sign will be outfitted with color-changing LEDs, and they will be programmed to mirror the lights on the Empire State Building, located three blocks down 34th Street.
· 'Grand Old Lady' Is Back [WSJ]
· New Yorker Hotel now world's largest Wyndham [Travel Weekly]
· New Yorker Hotel [official]
· Hotels Week 2014 [Curbed]
Lead photo via Wikipedia