In a few days, this dowager hotel will close up shop for a long renovation designed to turn it into a residence of mostly condos, not by-the-night rooms.
There’s a lot that will be missed, like the Art Deco ambiance and the bronze lobby clock with a gilded Lady Liberty on top.
But perhaps the most impressive feature no one will see for a couple of years at least is the 18-foot mosaic that’s welcomed visitors since 1939.
Titled “Wheel of Life” and made with 148,000 hand-cut marble tiles from all around the world, the mosaic depicts life from birth until death. It’s the work of French artist Louis Rigal.
“Wheel of Life,” which is currently in the running for landmark status, isn’t your ordinary hotel lobby curiosity. It tells a story and has something to say about innocence, struggle, love and the rest of the human existence.
Imagine all the millions of visitors who walked over it and perhaps really looked at it over the decades. See it in full on video here.