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Thread: West 57th Street by Hilton Club - 104 West 57th Street - by HLW International

  1. #16



  2. #17
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    I liked that building. It has had a rather tortured existence of late. Wasn't that the "Motown Cafe" for a blink of an eye?

  3. #18
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    How's their food?
    They're not shutting down, just moving to another location, right?

  4. #19


    I remember when that was a BurgerKing during the big bad 1970´s.

    Info about Horn&Hardart, the folks who originally built the building (to house their Automat):
    Last edited by Fabrizio; January 5th, 2006 at 07:44 AM.

  5. #20
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Tearing this down is sick.

    Truly an iconographic deco / moderne building, and should be at the very least considered for preservation.

  6. #21

    Exclamation Effort To Halt Demolition Of The Automat!!!

    Hi! I heard about the regretful plans to demolish the former 1938 Art Moderne style Automat building on W 57th St. I am trying to remain optimistic! I am working with some preservation advocacy groups, & I'm devising a plan to preserve this iconic deco, very first fast food chain structure. Let's all work together, but fast, since it's scheduled to be demolished this spring. I will post a follow-up very shortly. Please continue to check this thread.

  7. #22


    If I were in NYC I´d be picketing but I´m not gonna hold my breath.... in the course of one year the Studebaker is torn down, the historic Variety Theatre is demolished (a crime of national proportion)... and now this. Good luck!

  8. #23


    Thank you Native Forest Hiller.......please help do something......Where is Landmarks in all this?

    Also - Read the Post Today, they want to tear down the Drake Hotel on Park and 56th.......Is nothing in midtown sacred? What makes midtown unique is the mix - You only have to go to any other downtown city to see how dead it with just highrises.

    Better to encourage develop on the far west side where there is little to save then to destroy the few remaining older buildings (whose only crime is not using every inch of FAR) in midtown. I remember in the 80s, when there where still townhouses in the 50s between Park and Madison (it looked like the East 60s do now). It was nice to have the elegant touch right next to the highrises and it made the office buildings on Park and Madison more desirable. Now, just more bland towers exist.

    Why can't Landmarks to a true survey of what should be landmarked and not wait to the 11th hour.
    When will we learn from our mistakes?

  9. #24

    Exclamation Petition Drive/Letter Campaign: Save The Former 1938 NYC Automat From Demolition!!!

    Last edited by Edward; January 30th, 2006 at 10:15 AM. Reason: Thread exists on this topic

  10. #25


    How do we get the word out?

    Please - before its too late.

  11. #26
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    For the Flagship Automat, the Future Grows Dark

    Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times
    Shelly's will be gone by April.
    Many wonder, then what?

    NY Times
    February 19, 2006

    Of all New York's Automats, a little tooth-white building at 104 West 57th Street was among the best known. Its wide-mouthed, Art Moderne facade, completed in 1938, mimicked the food slots inside, with their steaming plates of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. Its interior was typically ornate, with a patterned terrazzo floor, a six-foot-wide clock, and dolphin-shaped coffee spigots.

    Because of its location just east of Carnegie Hall, this Automat, flagship of the Horn & Hardart chain, was popular with performers, would-be performers and nostalgic has-beens. "There were all these done-up old ladies who thought they were Veronica Lake," recalled Lorraine Diehl, a co-author of the 2002 book "The Automat," who had a summer job on 57th Street in 1958.

    While the Automat's guts have been dispersed since the building's sale, in 1977, its shell survives. But preservationists are worried about the future of the storied building, one of only two Automat structures left in the city. (The other is at Broadway and 104th Street.) The building's owner, a real estate investment firm called the Bromley Companies, has bought back the lease of Shelly's, the steak and seafood restaurant that now occupies the space.

    The restaurant will be gone by April, and Shelly Fireman, its owner, said he believed that Bromley plans to develop the building. Calls to the Bromley Companies were not returned.

    In 2002, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected the idea of designating the building as a landmark. A widely assumed reason for that decision is that the facade has been heavily altered over the years, acquiring black piping and a penthouse.

    Preservationist groups, along with Daniel Garodnick, the City Councilman for the area, have asked the commission to reconsider its decision, a request that an agency spokeswoman said was "under review." Behind that request lies a recognition of the site's market value.

    "It's a two-story building on a block of skyscrapers," said John Jurayj, cochairman of the Modern Architecture Working Group, a preservationist group. "If it were my building, I'd want to build a tower there."

  12. #27


    Sure is an eye catcher. This is one to keep. They can build a tower just behind the facade.

    The fact that a facade has been altered shouldn't have much bearing on its preservation; that too is part of a building's history. It's the end-product that counts.

    Boston's Faneuil Hall has been greatly modified from its original appearance, and so has its Custom House (about 1830), which sprouted a Beaux-Arts skyscraper about 1910. No-one would say that means they shouldn't be protected.

    Silly policy.
    Last edited by ablarc; February 20th, 2006 at 09:45 PM.

  13. #28

    Default People Do This Now Before Its Too Late

    Good afternoon.

    If a NYC building is at least 30 years old, or the NYC area that you
    wish to have listed as an Historic District is distinct, you can send us
    a Request for Evaluation Form or a simple letter requesting that the
    Research department consider it. Include as much information as
    possible on the structure/s, such as photos, history, and so on.

    An individual NYC building has to be in decent shape. We put a lot of
    emphasis on how the facade appears. It is possible to get an interior
    designated as well if it is usually open to the public and has a lot of
    historical materials.

    The evaluation form at our web-site is at-

    You can fax the form to 212 669-7818 or mail it to
    1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
    NY, NY 10007

    It should say-
    ATTN: Mary Beth Betts

    Doris Hernandez
    Public Information Officer/311 Liaison
    Phone: (212) 669-7817

  14. #29

    Default Facade is being ripped off as we speak!

    On Wednesday night around 9:00 p.m. a crew came by and enveloped the facade in scafolding. I live in the "white whale" next door. I asked the foreman what they were doing and he reported that parts of the facade were falling off the building and that they were there in an emergency capacity to protect passers-by. On Friday they began jack-hammering away at the outside of the building. I think the "emergency" is that they are prepping it for the wrecking ball. It's such a shame.

  15. #30
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    That should be called "Pulling a Macklowe" (tear it down before somebody can stop you).

    See here:

    Thanks, but No Thanks

    NY Times
    January 17, 1985

    Harry Macklowe, the real-estate developer, can't even give his money away since he came under investigation last week in the illegal demolition of four midtown buildings ...

    And here:


    Located on West 44th Street, the Millennium Premier Hotel stands in a once largely Irish and working class neighborhood formerly known as Hell’s Kitchen but re-christened with the sanitarysounding moniker ‘Clinton’ by real estate speculators in the 1980s. The Times Square from whose implied stresses it claims to offer an ‘oasis’ is no longer the porn playground of the fiscal crisis ‘70s. It has been rehabilitated: safe for families, safe for business, efficiently emptied of homeless people and sundry other uninvited. In May of 1998, however, a metal street sign appears outside the Millennium. The sign is flagged off of a lamppost, meters away from the hotel’s tastefully subdued, black marble façade. Mounted low enough for passersby to read, its text begins portentously:
    What is now the Millennium Broadway Hotel used to be the site of 4 buildings including an SRO hotel that provided badly needed housing for poor New Yorkers...
    Artist and architect William Menking designed the plaque to look like a busy montage of newspaper clippings. The story of the Hotel’s less than tranquil past continues in bold type:
    In 1984, New York City passed a moratorium on the alteration of hotels for the poor. Hours before the moratorium was to go into effect, developer Harry Macklowe had the 4 buildings demolished without obtaining demolition permits, and without turning off water and gas lines into the buildings. NYC officials declared, ‘It is only a matter of sheer luck that there was no gas explosion.’ Attempts to bring criminal charges against Macklowe for these actions were not successful. Macklowe built a luxury hotel on the site, then lost it to the current owners. The demolition of hotels for the poor during the 1970’s and 1980’s added to the city’s growing homeless population. While streets of the ‘new’ Times Square seem paved with gold – for many they have literally become a home.

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