Gilded Age extravagance at the Hotel Navarre

It was built in 1900 on Seventh Avenue and 38th Street, at the tail end of the Gilded Age, and the Hotel Navarre has all the magnificent ornamentation of the era: it’s a French Renaissance fortress of terra cotta with a delightful roof right out of a European castle.

But in New York City, neighborhoods and architectural tastes change fast. The Navarre met the wrecking ball in 1930, just three decades later.

What happened? In the teens, this stretch of Seventh Avenue north of Penn Station became a “lowly section of the city, infested with second-hand clothing shops, lumber and coal yards.”

By the 1920s it was transformed “as if by miracle, into a great business section of the city,” the New York Times wrote two years earlier.

Today we have the 44-story Art Deco Navarre Building on the site, a tribute to a short-lived hotel with a 19th century design and elegance that was out of style a generation or so later.

For more on legendary Gilded Age mansions and hotels in New York City, check out The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910.

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3 Responses to “Gilded Age extravagance at the Hotel Navarre”

  1. Zoe Says:

    It’s astonishing how many grand buildings we’ve lost as if they were disposable.

    Thanks for bringing them to our attention.

    I guess in those days *vintage* clothing shops did not command respect w/ designers scouring them & write ups in fashion (‘ladies’) mags. I’d love to time travel to those. (If I could squeeze some clothing/hats/jewellery back through the space-time warp).

  2. Greg Says:

    You could make the second-best city in the US just out of buildings that NYC destroyed.

  3. David H Lippman Says:

    My kind of hotel! Slip the front desk a sawbuck and he’ll send up a bottle of hooch and a shady lady! After you’re done, she takes your wallet, though….

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