simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: The Plaza
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Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The Plaza

A number of readers have inquired why I have not done a posting on the Plaza Hotel in the two and a half years I have done this site. It may come as a surprise to those who know this city and it should - the Plaza is one of the most important landmarks in the entire city.
So why I have I waited? The primary reason has been the ongoing construction with exterior scaffolding since 2005. This property has changed hands a number of times, briefly owned by Donald Trump (from 1988-1995). It was then purchased by the current owner, El Ad Properties for $675 million. $400 million has been invested in renovations. All the rooms along Central Park are now residential condominiums. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark - the only other hotel with this status is the Waldorf Astoria.
It is difficult to do this hotel justice and communicate the importance of this structure. Its stature is enormous, both physically and symbolically. The Plaza sits at the crossroads of two of the most important thoroughfares in New York City - Fifth Avenue and Central Park South.  Any property located on Central Park immediately gains importance and caché. The same is true for Fifth Avenue, particularly where it flanks Central Park from 59th Street to 110th Street.
The current property is the second to be built on the site - the first in 1900 and the second was rebuilt in 1907, designed by Henry Hardenbergh in the style of a medieval French chateau. The name derives from Grand Army Plaza, the public space adjoining the front entrance of the hotel along Fifth Avenue. The plaza is the site of Pulitzer Fountain, Abundance, by Karl Bitter.
At one time in the 1950s and 60s half of the hotel rooms were occupied by residents living there full time like Frank Llloyd Wright and Marlene Dietrich. many clebrities have grace its rooms - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, the Vanderbilts etal. The Beatles performed there on the first USA visit in 1964.
One could name drop all day and certainly there may be "better" hotels or rooms in the city, but for any New Yorker, one name says it all, the Plaza ...


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