The New Yorker: Deco Days Are Here Again
Spurred by the continued redevelopment of Manhattan's far West Side, the New Yorker Hotel is adding some Deco flare.
Laura B. Weiss -- Interior Design, 9/17/2007 12:00:00 AM
By the time the vintage New Yorker Hotel began a major restoration earlier this year, its Art Deco glory days were as faded as the floral wall-to-wall carpeting that for years concealed the grand lobby’s original marble flooring. The 1930 landmark featured tired accommodations, but for the budget-minded, the prime midtown location—one block from Penn Station—couldn't be beat.
Now, inspired by the glamour of its heyday, the 44-story property, with its iconic red neon rooftop sign, is being spruced up to show off some of its former luster. Why invest in this faded dowager? With the far West Side of Manhattan already in the throws of redevelopment, the Unification Church, the property's owner, wants to capture some of the area's increasingly upmarket business, explains Thomas McCaffrey, the sales and marketing director.
Enlisting the aid of architecture and design firm Stonehill & Taylor, the first three floors of the 910 restyled accommodations planned are already being rolled out. The remainder of the $65 million project, including restoring the lobby's original black, burgundy and white marble flooring and painting its 25-foot-high coffered ceilings gold, is scheduled to be completed by August of next year. And the lobby’s chandeliers will be restrung to create concentric circles more in tune with the hotel's Art Deco theme.
In the 1930s, the New Yorker boasted 10 private dining "salons," five restaurants, 92 switchboard operators, a bakery, and its very own power plant–with enough juice to light up a city of 35,000. The likes of Joe DiMaggio, Ginger Rogers, and Muhammad Ali frequented the hotel, while big bands entertained at the stylish Terrace Restaurant.
But over the years, the property had faded, concedes Lorraine Knapp, Stonehill and Taylor's design director. "You just got a sad feeling when you went in there," she says.
Not so the newly remodeled guest rooms, which range in size from 155 to 210 square feet. They've been conceived in a palette of champagne and chocolate brown that extends to the custom drapes and carpet, displaying a Deco-style diamond motif. Each room boasts a six-foot-high upholstered headboard, a custom-designed combination desk/bureau in zebra wood veneer that echoes the 30's skyscraper look, and a custom six-pointed star lighting fixture. Kravet provided fabrics. Kimball manufactured the nightstands and desk based on an original Deco design by Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Each room is equipped with Wi-Fi and a plasma screen television.
The exterior will get a makeover, too. It will be cleaned, and gold paint will be applied to the bas-relief panels that adorn the front façade.