Before the Apple store, it was the Hotel Savoy

Fifth Avenue at 59th Street has been a prime piece of real estate since the late 19th century. The first luxe development there was the Hotel Savoy, built in 1892. It was actually an apartment house with a host of wealthy tenants. 

It also seemed to be a fairly popular place to commit suicide. The New York Times archive includes several accounts of well-to-do men who offed themselves there.


The Hotel Savoy was replaced in 1927 by the Savoy Plaza Hotel, a McKim, Mead, and White beauty razed in 1964 to make way for the 50-story GM Building. To protest the demolition of such a lovely Art Deco structure, about a 100 architecture students and teachers held a “funeral march” at Grand Army Plaza across the street.

But the Savoy Plaza bit the dust anyway, and now New Yorkers rush in and out of FAO Schwartz (in the GM Building) and the subterranean Apple Store, not the smoky hotel bars and restaurants of another era. 

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7 Responses to “Before the Apple store, it was the Hotel Savoy”

  1. Howard Berl Says:

    I don’t think 1964 is the year it was demolished for the GM building as I worked on the 2nd floor there in 1964 and 1965

  2. gzza Says:

    I know says the Savoy Plaza was Art Deco, but I don’t see anything Deco about it. I would say its French Renaissance.

    Kind of mind boggling that a building like that could be torn down after 37 years.

  3. carlahoag Says:

    I’m currently reading “The Girl from Fitchburg” which chronicles not only turn-of-the-century Massachusetts, but also New York City during the first several decades of the 20th century.

    It’s a fascinating account of a world gone by, and your photoshelped me picture some of the places the author mentioned.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. A view of a smaller-scale Fifth Avenue in 1900 « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] tall building in the middle of the block is the former Savoy Hotel, later the site of the Savoy Plaza Hotel and now home to the GM Building, which houses the Apple […]

  5. Peter Levis Says:

    I’d love to find a photo of the Savoy Room & Bar in the lobby of the Savoy Hilton (as it was called from 1960-65) because I would like to see the modernist “stained glass” mural of King Arthur and his knights by Peter Ostuni.

  6. Les Kipp Says:

    My father went up to the Savoy-Plaza during its last days and acquired several items from the hotel: a huge mirror with a gilded frame that looks as though it had been hung over a fireplace mantel; a glass topped table; and a brass doorknob marked with S-P.
    I would love to see photos of the interior.

  7. A newspaper magnate builds a soundproof, Venetian-style mansion steps from Fifth Avenue | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] while he and his family temporarily relocated to the posh Savoy Hotel on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street after the fire, Pulitzer shelled out $240,000 on a plot on East 73rd Street measuring 98 feet […]

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