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Thread: Hotel Theresa - 125th Street at Seventh Avenue - Harlem - by George & Edward Blum

  1. #1

    Default Hotel Theresa - 125th Street at Seventh Avenue - Harlem - by George & Edward Blum

    The famous Theresa Hotel in Harlem at 125th and Seventh Avenue (Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard).

    President Fidel Castro of Cuba stayed there on his first visit to the United Nations in NY after coming to power in Cuba. Malcolm X often held O.A.A.U. meetings there.

  2. #2

    Default Hotel Theresa in Harlem

    A Return to Harlem
    GOP club will reopen at Hotel Theresa

    By Curtis L. Taylor

    August 28, 2002

    After nearly seven decades of being dormant, the Harlem Republican Club is expected to reopen this fall at the historic site of the former Hotel Theresa.

    The club, first established in 1880, withered during the 1930s, a time when black voters turned en masse to the Democratic Party of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

    The new club will be in a building once dubbed the Waldorf of Harlem, where Joe Louis celebrated his victories, Malcolm X maintained the Organization of Afro-American Unity and Fidel Castro received Nikita S. Khrushchev. It is now the Theresa Towers office building on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard between 124th and 125th streets.

    Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sandy Treadwell, who heads the State Republican Committee, and Assemb. John Ravitz, the party chief in Manhattan, will host a fund-raiser for the new club tomorrow night at the Studio Museum in Harlem at 144 W. 125th St.

    "What we are trying to do with the Harlem Republican Club is to educate the community about what benefits the party has to offer and to focus on outreach," said Della Hawkins, co-district leader with Will Brown.

    Adrienne Rhodes, former state Consumer Affairs Board chairwoman, said the club, set to open in October, will help create a better understanding of what Republicans believe the party stands for and the benefits its leadership has provided.

    Rhodes cited, for example, Republican administrations' efforts to have part of Harlem declared a federal economic empowerment zone, which she credited with leading to an infusion of cash and revitalization projects into the community.

    "The vision is that once the elections are over the real work of the club will began," Ravitz said. "The space will be designed to use for afterschool programs and weekend tutorial programs so that we are a constant presence in the community and a helpful neighbor."

    The move comes as Republicans and Democrats vie for African-American and Latino votes in local and statewide races this November and as some local black Republicans have privately criticized the GOP for not providing more campaign support.

    Still, there has been a Republican resurgence in Harlem, with a record number of African-American and Latino candidates running on the Republican line. Yesterday, Rhodes and Hawkins praised local and state party leaders for "making a significant investment to establish the club.

    "We are here to go forward with new ideas with a new generation," Hawkins said.

    History Hotel

    From Malcolm X to the GOP, the history of the Hotel Theresa, now known as Theresa Towers.


    Opens on Seventh Avenue between 124th and 125th streets. Designed by architects George and Edward Blum.


    After it is desegregated, it is frequented by black celebrities, including Louis Armstrong, Sugar Ray Robinson, Lena Horne and Dinah Washington. Joe Louis celebrates victories at the Theresa.


    Ron Brown, who would go on to become commerce secretary, lives there while his father manages the hotel. Around the same time, future U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) works as a desk clerk.


    Fidel Castro receives Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev after the Cuban delegation's eviction from Shelburne Hotel, for alleged misdeeds that included cooking chickens in their rooms and causing $10,000 worth of damage. While at the Theresa, Castro also meets with Malcolm X, who maintained the Organization of Afro-American Unity at the hotel.


    Renovated as office space.


    Designated official city landmark.

    Copyright © 2002, Newsday, Inc.

  3. #3

    Default Old Guest Registers from Theresa Hotel

    Can anybody tell me where I can find or view old guest registers from the Theresa Hotel. In particular the 30' 40' and 50's.

  4. #4
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    You might try the Studio Museum in Harlem:

    Or the New York Historical Society:

  5. #5
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Catalog search of library at NYHS came up with this:

  6. #6


    Cool. Never knew about this one.

  7. #7

    Default The Theresa Hotel

    Can anyone tell more about the Theresa Hotel regarding who currently owns the hotel. Also what is going on at this Hotel. Wouldn't it be great if it was completely renevoated and turned back into a hotel, part office, space and part condos.


    Ben, the idea man

  8. #8
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    East Midtown


    Sure, anything but an Evil Republican Club.

  9. #9


    Martin Luther King was a Republican, dontcha know:

    Last edited by ablarc; October 10th, 2006 at 09:19 PM. Reason: added link

  10. #10
    Random Personality
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Woodside, Queens


    Wow, never knew of this building, it's a real beaut. and thankfully landmarked

  11. #11
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    May 3, 2009
    Streetscapes | The Hotel Theresa

    Fidel Castro Slept Here


    The Hotel Theresa opened on 125th Street in 1913 with 300 rooms, and its modernity and size made it a center for Harlem civic affairs. The hotel in 1936, left, and in its guise of office building.

    THE bright glazed whiteness of the Hotel Theresa, built at 125th Street and Seventh Avenue in 1913, symbolized the new high-rise aspirations of 20th-century Harlem. Three decades later and newly integrated, it offered hope to black New Yorkers. In 1960, the press descended on the hotel when Fidel Castro checked in. Now crews are at work keeping its remarkable design intact.

    The Theresa was built by Gustavus Sidenberg, who manufactured ladies’ collars and then took a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. It appears that the hotel was his only development project, for which he hired the three-year-old firm of George and Edward Blum. Apparently born well-to-do, both brothers went to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the training ground of the architectural elite.

    But instead of returning to design country houses and private clubs, they did the unthinkable: They put their high-style training into the service of commercial architecture, where profits were calculated in square feet, even square inches.

    In 1912 Mr. Sidenberg approved the Blums’ most ambitious design, a full-blockfront apartment hotel 13 stories high. This was from the architects’ boom year, which included the Dallieu, at 101st Street and West End Avenue; the Adlon, at 54th and Seventh Avenue; and their all-white 780 West End Avenue, at 98th. Like 780 West End, the Blums made the Hotel Theresa all white, with their characteristic sinuous ornament unlike anything ever seen in New York.

    The spandrel panels — the rectangles below the windows — consist of diamond shapes made up of crisscross lines, something like the Islamic decoration of the 14th-century Alhambra. But looked at in another light, they could be the zigzag Art Deco of the 1920s. At the third-floor level runs a band of varying ornament, including projecting panels of glazed terra cotta surrounding roughened, sandpaperlike rectangles.

    From the 10th floor up, the main facade is covered with diaper-patterned terra cotta, a sort of tapestry of diamond shapes. This section ends in superscaled square-topped pediments, another Blum trademark. The window arches of this upper section are great half-rounds of sinuous, Art Nouveau-type ornament surrounding bulging orbs like mushroom caps.

    Nothing in the decorative scheme derives from classical architecture — indeed it could be said to be anticlassical, so thoroughly does it bypass traditional design. George and Edward Blum may have taken advantage of the orthodox training at the École, but they also took instruction from the streets of Paris, Vienna and other European cities where the Secession style had recently flowered.

    The Theresa opened in 1913 with 300 rooms, and its modernity and size made it a center for Harlem civic affairs. In 1921, The New York Times held a business lunch celebrating its new Harlem office, at 111 West 125th Street. The Times quoted J. Gardner Smith, the president of the Harlem Chamber of Commerce, as saying that 125th would become the “greatest street in the city.”

    Like its facade, the Theresa was all white, both staff and guests. But the African-American population of Harlem was expanding, and in 1937, The New York Amsterdam News reported a complaint by two black men that they had been refused rooms, which the hotel denied. But then in 1940 the Theresa opened for all races, with a black staff and management.

    At some point it came to be known as the “Waldorf of Harlem,” a center for African-American events. In 1941, 10,000 fans gathered in front to see Joe Louis, fresh from a boxing victory at the Polo Grounds. After a fire in 1945, The Times noted that guests evacuated from the hotel included administrators from Fisk University, Tuskegee Institute and Wilberforce University.

    For some whites the Theresa had an anti-establishment cachet; for example, the Communist Party of the United States held its convention there in 1959. Mr. Castro was a guest the next year, when he came to address the United Nations. He and his retinue stayed at the Hotel Shelburne, at 37th and Lexington Avenue, for one night. But the Cubans complained that the hotel, suspicious of the revolutionary purse, demanded $2,000 in advance. The hotel management disputed this claim.

    The Cubans moved up to the Theresa, where Mr. Castro felt a responsive chord with the black community. Malcolm X; Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of India; and Nikita S. Khrushchev, the premier of the Soviet Union, all visited him there, and the Theresa has an enduring place in cold war history.

    In 1966 the architect Vito Tricarico proposed an entirely new, modern skin for the hotel, but it was instead simply converted to an office building.
    Now, the firm Rand Engineering & Architecture has begun a $2 million program of repairs. There is some spalling on the high gables, window lintels have failed, and the fragile-looking 12th-floor balcony has to be replaced, but the building is in surprisingly good condition.

    A designated landmark, the Theresa should emerge from the work looking as good as it does now, or better.

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