The most beautiful ballroom in New York City

Today, the former Prince George Hotel, at 14 East 28th Street, is part of the nonprofit housing group Common Ground, providing low-income housing for about 400 once-homeless adults.

But when the hotel opened in 1904 (another building was added in 1912), it was a Beaux-Arts jewel reminiscent of Edith Wharton’s New York.

The luxurious rooms on each of its 14 floors came with private baths, and the ground floor featured several restaurant and lounge areas.

One of those lounges is now the Prince George Ballroom, a 4,800-foot space with ornately carved classical columns and ceiling murals inspired by the Renaissance.

Restored to its original beauty in the 1990s, it can be rented for parties and events.

Judging by how gorgeous it is now, it’s hard to imagine what it looked like in the 1980s.

That’s when the Prince George fell on hard times and became one of the city’s most crime-ridden welfare hotels, home to 1,600 people.

Like the rest of the building, the ballroom was a rundown eyesore, painted white and used as a dining hall, social service office, even a basketball court.

I wish I could find a photo of it during its welfare-hotel days. Until then, the one above, as it looks today, and this one below, from 1915, will have to suffice.

Photos: Common Ground

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6 Responses to “The most beautiful ballroom in New York City”

  1. John MacKenzie Says:

    Courtesy of Wikipedia: “The St. George Tower once drew celebrities, athletes, and every presidential hopeful flocking to its many ballrooms (the Colorama Ballroom being the largest banquet room in the world) and the largest indoor salt-water pool in the United States”.

    It was a hangout for Irish “high society” in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. One of my great uncles lived in the Tower and I think I swam in that pool as a kid (in the 1950s, perhaps).

  2. Andrew Porter Says:

    The St. George is in Brooklyn Heights; this is the Prince George, not the same hotel.

    In the 1970s, when it was still a hotel, I went to a science fiction convention held there. The ballroom was used, but it was in much diminished condition; certainly not the jewel-box in appearance it has been wonderfully restored to.

    The World Science Fiction Convention was held at the Alexandra Hotel in downtown Los Angeles in 1958, a hotel which went the same route as the Prince George. When restored, a decade ago, it’s noted that the ballroom ceiling is wonderful glass designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

  3. John MacKenzie Says:

    Oops. I wasn’t paying attention. Pretty silly too because I worked at 29th and Broadway for a while; I walked past the Prince George hundreds of times (it didn’t look so nice then).

  4. The most beautiful ballroom in New York City  | astound me: D.A. Królak Says:

    […] via The most beautiful ballroom in New York City | Ephemeral New York […]

  5. The 1905 hotel named for a Gilded Age beauty | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Little inside the Hotel Evelyn remains from the Gilded Age. The facade is preserved, and a hotel employee told me the original marble floor remains. (At left, the hotel in 1910 next to the once equally elegant Prince George Hotel.) […]

  6. Patrick Cahn Says:

    My great-great uncle was a resident there in the 1940s, and, according to my grandmother, died there in the early 50s.

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