View Full Version : Hypothetical Bronx Hotel - Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie

February 23rd, 2003, 10:18 AM
February 23, 2003
The Bronx Has Got a Lot, but Not a Grand Hotel

The Bronx has colleges and universities: Fordham, Lehman and Manhattan, to name a few. It has major health care institutions like Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. It has the Yankees. It has the Zoo.

But it has no hotel.

There are a few motels and motor inns here and there, many of which, local residents believe, are centers of prostitution and drug trade. And there was the storied Concourse Plaza Hotel. But that became a welfare hotel in 1968 and, in the early 70's, the city bought it and turned it into a residence for the elderly.

Now, a community organization that has long tried to attract a replacement hotel is reviving the idea. Jesse Hamilton, president of the group, the South Bronx Resurgence Corporation, originally dreamed up the plan in the early 80's while writing a thesis on South Bronx redevelopment.

"My whole concept was, how do you bring a borough close together?'' Mr. Hamilton said. "Where is the central place where events take place?"

The poor economy is a large obstacle, but the effort got a lift last month with a new architectural plan, by the renowned firm Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects, that shows a 25-story hotel with 300 to 350 rooms. The plan is revised from one made in 1989, before Mr. Johnson joined the firm. The hotel would be in Mott Haven, over the Metro-North tracks on 149th Street, near the courts and Yankee Stadium.

"It's a great location, where the train comes together," said Mr. Ritchie, referring to the 2, 4 and 5 stops and Metro-North lines. "This could really be a hub for development and growth of the Bronx."

Mr. Hamilton and other supporters, including Raul Russi, the executive director of a nonprofit drug treatment organization and a commissioner of probation in the Giuliani administration, met last week with a Marriott vice president. But the company has taken no position on the idea.

There are other hurdles. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the air rights above the tracks, is not actively considering the proposal. The biggest question: who will pay at least $200 a night to stay in the Bronx, at least when the Yankees aren't in the World Series? Sequestered jurors and visitors to the universities and hospitals would be a start. But no market study has been done.

Still, the planners are optimistic. "People are afraid to think big," Mr. Russi said. "But in New York, you've got to think big."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

February 23rd, 2003, 05:47 PM

149th Street Hotel
Park Avenue between 144th and 149th
25 stories
Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects

February 5, 2003 *

http://www.highbridgehorizon.com/english/news/2003-0205_bronx_hotel.htm *

Developer garners support for 149th Street hotel project

By Steven Gnagni
Managing Editor

A project that would bring a 350-room hotel with a conference center, parking, and market-rate apartments is gathering support from local organizations and politicians, but still faces at least one major roadblock.

The Downtown Bronx Resurgence Corporation (DBRC) proposed the hotel, to be built on top of Metro North’s Hudson and Harlem lines, on Park Avenue between 144th and 149th streets. Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects created preliminary designs for the hotel. The architecture firm designed the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Columbus Circle and has worked on a range of projects, commercial and residential.

The idea, said Jesse Hamilton, President of the DBRC, came out of a need for space for two neighboring institutions: Hostos Community College and Lincoln Hospital. The hospital needs more administrative office space, and the college wants more classroom space. The building would also include residences for doctors and a hotel school for Hostos Community College.

In addition, there would be a 1,300 space parking lot, a 2,000 person conference center, a three story atrium, a rooftop restaurant, and a shopping center.

Mr. Hamilton explained that the hotel would take three to four years to build after the group gains all approvals. The property needs to be rezoned—it is currently considered a manufacturing site—and Mr. Hamilton needs to secure financing.

The main roadblock: Approval from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs Metro North. The MTA, which has air rights for the site, has blocked the project for years—Mr. Hamilton first proposed the hotel 20 years ago—and many think it will be difficult to get the MTA’s approval.

“I hope it’s a successful project, but the MTA has continually stonewalled him,” said Jim Fairbanks, chief of staff for Helen Foster, the city councilwoman who represents the 16th district. “We support him, but how you move the MTA, I don’t know.”

Despite his doubters, Mr. Hamilton remains positive.

“I think the MTA went through a change of leadership, and a change of mission,” he said. “Our discussions have been frank and open about what their concerns are.”

One possible way to convince the MTA: incorporate the MTA’s plan to create a Metro North stop near Yankee Stadium.

But Mr. Fairbanks said the location may not be close enough to the stadium.

“I don’t know—I would suppose that the closer you get to Yankee Stadium, the better you are,” he said.

Even so, Mr. Fairbanks does see the economic potential. “That project would be a major uplift to the Bronx economy,” he said. “If he needs us to do anything, he can call us and ask us.”

February 23rd, 2003, 06:25 PM

Generally I don't get to excited with postmodernism, but this is Philip Johnson at heart, the father of postmodernism. And this is grand, fanciful, it looks like a palace.

The Bronx and Philip Johnson have tried their hand at modernism, but IMO neither have suceeded. This however works.

February 23rd, 2003, 06:43 PM
What an atrocity. I hate to say this, but I hope this project is delayed long enough for a design change.

February 23rd, 2003, 06:45 PM
I don't think Johnson is the father of postmodernism (Jencks?).

TLOZ Link5
February 24th, 2003, 05:04 PM
I dunno...it's a great concept to build a grand hotel in The Bronx, but the design of that hotel is glitzy; possibly even tacky. *It's too Atlantic City for my taste.

February 24th, 2003, 09:48 PM
It's better than no hotel.

(Edited by DominicanoNYC at 9:49 pm on Feb. 24, 2003)

February 25th, 2003, 01:20 AM

TLOZ Link5
February 25th, 2003, 05:52 PM
Quote: from DominicanoNYC on 9:48 pm on Feb. 24, 2003
It's better than no hotel.

(Edited by DominicanoNYC at 9:49 pm on Feb. 24, 2003)

And the design is slightly better than the Park Lane =P

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be a hotel; but I'm not going to settle for something that would look better next to the Taj Mahal--and I ain't talkin' about the one in India.

February 25th, 2003, 09:15 PM
What about using that hotel that was designed in 1908 for use on the Trade center site? Though is that were to be built outside of Manhattan I think it would go to either Brooklyn or most likely, Queens, considering their proximity to Midtown and Downtown.

February 26th, 2003, 02:11 AM
I hold true to my Caesar's Palace comparison for the Sony/Chippendale Building, holding true maybe even more so with this Bronx hotel design. Maybe Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects should consider a merger with Wimberly, Allison, Tong, & Goo.

Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects Bronx Hotel:


Caesar's Palace, designed by Wimberly, Allison, Tong, & Goo ( www.watg.com ) :


February 26th, 2003, 12:57 PM
Massive. 25 floors and 350 rooms. It's exactly what the Bronx needs. It may do for the Bronx what the ESB did for Midtown and the WTC did for Downtown. Screw all those low-rise motels and inns. We know what happens in those places.

February 26th, 2003, 01:06 PM
Massive. 25 floors and 350 rooms. It's exactly what the Bronx needs. It may do for the Bronx what the ESB did for Midtown and the WTC did for Downtown. Screw all those low-rise motels and inns. We know what happens in those places.

July 9th, 2003, 02:32 PM

Downtown Bronx Hotel
Design Date: 1992, 2002.


The Bronx needs a project of such significance, just not this nostalgic eyesore.

July 9th, 2003, 02:54 PM
It manages to look worse than the federal courthouse at 500 Pearl.

July 9th, 2003, 04:13 PM
It looks even uglier in color.

That is just hideous!

I apologize, I did Caesar's Palace a real disservice with the comparison.

July 9th, 2003, 06:47 PM
Go Bronx, get civlized wit yo bad self.

Is it just me or does postmodernism ironically emulate the architecture spurned in the Fountainhead film. *

Philip Johnson is the self described 'biggest whore in architecture.'

Pop. . . so deep.

July 9th, 2003, 07:04 PM
Zak, are you referring Gaudi's American Hotel (www.op.net/~jmeltzer/Gaudi/hotel.html)?

Can you imagine the acid trip that PJ/AR reappropriated surrealism would produce?
Hold on to your sea urchins folks, we're not in Kansas anymore.

July 9th, 2003, 09:37 PM
I actually like the building. *For some reason... And what's the status right now.

(Edited by DominicanoNYC at 9:39 pm on July 9, 2003)

July 10th, 2003, 09:23 AM
Fugly - the only thing missing are huge letters spelling "TRUMP". *But, it is the Bronx, so I'll never see it...

July 10th, 2003, 09:36 AM
What do you mean?

July 10th, 2003, 12:02 PM
I have to say, I don't see the connection between that and Trump.

July 10th, 2003, 12:59 PM
It just smacks of that kind of flimsy gaudiness I'd expect from Trump.

July 10th, 2003, 02:25 PM
Like a steamboat or Vegas - this proposal embraces artifice to capitalize on the public's generally unrefined tastes. *Johnson has had his tongue firmly in his cheek for years. *
In general Architecture is not a byproduct of developer led building. *A truly cutting edge design must be compromised to be realized and the purity of the vision destroyed. *On the other hand, Postmodernism embedds this cynical observation within the work to pre-compromise it. *
We've all seem movies about making movies, well this is Architecture about making Architecture.

July 10th, 2003, 09:08 PM
Quote: from BrooklynRider on 9:23 am on July 10, 2003
Fugly - the only thing missing are huge letters spelling "TRUMP". *But, it is the Bronx, so I'll never see it...

Oh I'll see it. Either from my window or when I vist Yankees Stadium. Maybe even when I go there once in a while to buy something. I'll take pics if anyone wants.:) If it's going to be constructed.

(Edited by DominicanoNYC at 9:11 pm on July 10, 2003)

July 14th, 2003, 08:58 PM
BrooklynRider, my question was: Why would you never go to the Bronx?

July 15th, 2003, 10:25 AM
It's more of a place I pass through than visit...

July 15th, 2003, 11:49 AM
That's really sad, actually. It's a great place and I absolutely love living there.

I imagine that if you would actually take the time to stop and look around, you might change your mind.

July 15th, 2003, 02:47 PM
I just went to the Bronx Zoo this past weekend. Might I point out something. The Bronx Zoo is not labelled on the subway map. The Bronx Park where the Zoo is located is. The stop where you go off to goto the Zoo is also not labelled. There is a stop called Bronx Park, but it is not the right stop for the zoo, it is several stops later. Even when you get to the stop where you get off for the Zoo, the sign only has the name of the street (which at the moment escapes my mind). Only when you're off the train and standing on the platform is there a small sign (that does NOT face the windows of the train) at the top of the stairs labeling it the Zoo exit! Amazing.

July 14th, 2006, 11:04 AM
It looks a little like the old Bronx Plaza Hotel. The change is welcomed.

July 14th, 2006, 11:16 AM
I assume this Hotel proposal was cancel. I haven't heard any news about it.