View Poll Results: Hotel Pennsylvania should be replaced with the proposed office building

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  • Yes

    76 44.97%
  • No

    93 55.03%
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Thread: Hotel Pennsylvania - by McKim Mead & White - to be replaced by 15 Penn Plaza

  1. #811

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    Quote Originally Posted by 212 View Post
    I'd like to see the air rights transferred here, to save the hotel.
    It's a tiny site. You can't transfer much to this site.

  2. #812
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    The base was built to support the tower, but the tower was cancelled in the post-9/11 real estate crunch.

  3. #813
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Default I had wondered about that

    because I remembered the former building being taller than the new one.

  4. #814
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    A casualty of the market bottoming out (or the perception thereof.) The building was u/c on 9/11/01 and the decision was made to cap it at the retail levels.

  5. #815

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    Historic Districts Council wants Hotel Pennsylvania landmarked

    10-DEC-07

    The Historic Districts Council, one of the city's leading preservationist organizations, last week sent a letter to Robert H. Tierney, the chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, urging the landmark designation of the Hotel Pennsylvania on the east side of Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets.

    "Much discussion, planning and money have gone into the planning of the revival of the Pennsylvania Station area. It is ironic that the Hotel Pennsylvania, designed by the same architectural firm [McKim, Mead & White as the station, should not be part of these plans. Additionally, in this boom time of New York City hotels, what was thought to be the largest hotel in the world at the time of its opening should not be consigned to the dustbin of history," wrote Simon Bankoff, executive director of the council.

    "After designing Pennsylvania Station and the Farley Post Office, the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White was commissioned in 1917 to design and construct a hotel to accommodate the railroad's passengers. The elegant hotel...opened two years later" and "its Cafe Rouge was one of the most popular nightclubs in the city during the 1930s and 1940s featuring such performers as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, the Dorsey Brothers and the Glenn Miller Orchestra who immortalized in song the hotel's phone number, Pennsylvania 6-5000," Mr. Bankoff wrote, urging that "we respectfully ask that a designation hearing be held for this significant, endangered building."

    Last month, Community Board 5 voted 21 to 8 to 8 with two present and not voting to recommend that the Hotel Pennsylvania be designated an official city landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    During its "public session," the board heard testimony from many employees at the hotel including its doorman that the preservation of the hotel was important to save jobs, an emotional issue that directly related to the building's merits as a potential landmark. Richard Collins told the meeting that the last band to play at the hotel was the Buddy Rich band in 1980 with singers Mel Torme and Helen O'Connell.

    The board's resolution noted that the chief designer of the hotel at McKim, Mead & White was "William Symmes Richardson, who also helped design Pennsylvania Station, as well as the National City Bank Building in New York, the Girard Trust Company Building in Philadelphia and the Bank of Montreal, Canada." It also noted that Ellsworth Statler was contracted to run to hotel that originally had 2,200 bathrooms, 3,537 beds and the world's first 'high rise' elevators.

    The community board's vote is advisory and not binding on the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Nonetheless, its vote and the letter from the Historic Districts Council are likely to slow down the momentum that had been building in recent months to demolish the hotel in the wake of reports that Merrill Lynch wanted to lease the property from Vornado Real Estate Trust for 65 years for $1 billion and erect a skyscraper with large trading floors.

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  6. #816

  7. #817
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    ...and Macy's Herald Square store.

  8. #818

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    Thank God the Historics Districts Council is not taken seriously. They are NIMBYs of the worst kind.

  9. #819

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    I haven't been inside this hotel for 20 years. Does this awesome two-story lobby still exist?


  10. #820
    The Dude Abides
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    ^Lobby's still two stories, but I think the columns are gone (or largely altered). My last visit there was very underwhelming. Place is a dump.

  11. #821

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    That the Hotel Penn is a dump means nothing.

    Zero. Zilch. Niente.

    "Good riddance" to it, because the place is run-down, is cultural poverty.

    --

    Below is a link to the Book-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, (re-opening next year). Click around:

    http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin..._section_2Link

    Now this is the Book-Cadillac before restoration. Underwhelming to be sure. A dump do say the least:

    http://www.forgottendetroit.com/caddy/photos.html

    ----

    Here is the Book-Cadillac Hotel ballroom. After/Before:




    ------------------------

    Is restoration and preservation really so high-concept? So hard to grasp ?

    [/B]
    Last edited by Fabrizio; December 29th, 2007 at 01:18 PM.

  12. #822

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio View Post
    That the Hotel Penn is a dump means nothing....
    I agree. Although the hotel is dilapidated, its grandeur could easily be restored.

  13. #823
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    The problem is that the building is sitting on a piece of land that the owner wants to build offices on, not a restored hotel, however grand and opulant it may be.

    This is also true for that Newsweek building or any other threatened building. The other problem is that however nice the facade many of us architectural buffs here may think these buildings have, they are worth more to the develolper/owner/landlord/investor/buyer if they have:

    1) larger, floor-to-ceiling glass windows
    2) larger floor areas
    3) shiny new and bright exteriors and interiors
    4) increased floor space (either through additions or just tear down and rebuild)

    Throw in the fact, that beyond the few people both here and perhaps in the public, most people don't appreciate nor care about historic, classic architecture. If it isn't a well-known or iconic building (The Plaza Hotel) or structure (Grand Central Station) for example, the public will not pay much attention to them to either save them or preserve them. That public is also the buyers or renters of these buildings, so they too are at fault.

    Unfortunate but it is true. Now, let's talk about what we can do about it but somehow I doubt people here are interested in doing that. Just continuing complaining and cursing at whatever developer in the future that will come along and destroy another building and then we just move on.

  14. #824
    The Dude Abides
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio View Post
    "Good riddance" to it, because the place is run-down, is cultural poverty.
    You can't deny that it poses a serious problem, though. Time and again we witness, on this very forum, that the most vulnerable historic structures are those in the greatest state of disrepair.

    No one tries to tear down or reclad the Stanhope, the Mark, the Carlyle, or the Essex House - because they are beautifully kept-up, and their accommodations are readily in demand. Sure, they may need a little fixing up every now and then, but they are largely as intact as they were when they opened.

    The Hotel Penn finds itself in a precarious position, with a small - but, IMO, very viable - chance to survive. Vornado won't renovate it, but the recent decision to spread MSG's air rights around the area of Penn Station may lead it to sell the hotel and take the buildable square footage with them. Lord knows they have tens of other properties close by.

    If you can find a 4- or 5-star hotel chain to bring it up to date and operate it, then that's great. But remember that, even if the building is saved, the Hotel Penn probably won't remain. The Grand Hyatt may still inhabit the same skin and bones, but the Commodore it ain't.

  15. #825

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    You can't deny that it poses a serious problem, though.
    Vornado has successfully masked the fact that the hotel is viable property as it stands now. On that basis, it ranks more favorably than the situation that existed across the street 45 years ago. The Pennsylvania Railroad was losing money, and no one wanted to bear the expense of renovating Penn Station.

    The hotel has a reputation as a dump, yet Vornado realizes $30 million in profit from its operations. It's right across the street from a major transportation hub, in a neighborhood that will experience major growth. Renovating the building as a hotel would be a sound investment, and not require any exterior recladding - just some "soap and water."

    The only problem the hotel has is unchecked greed. It's probably true that Vornado can realize more profit by razing and developing the site, but it's not like they'd be asked to hold on to a white elephant.

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