Posts Tagged ‘cool hotels in NYC’

Hotel Piccadilly: toast of the Theater District

January 17, 2011

New York hotels go in and out of style just like clubs and bars, and once they outlive their usefulness, the get a date with the wrecking ball.

That’s the story of the Hotel Piccadilly. Its era as a hot place to book a room or meet for a drink was from the 1930s to the 1950s.

With about 700 rooms on West 45th Street, it was in the heart of the Theater District. “Smartly located in the center of everything” was its very midcentury-sounding slogan.

The Piccadilly also had the Piccadilly Circus Lounge, “gaily colorful spot in the thick of theaterdom patronized by show folk and show goers,” states a 1949 restaurant guide, Knife and Fork in New York.

It’s no surprise, of course, that when Times Square and midtown west went downhill, so did nearby hotels like the Piccadilly.

In 1982, it was torn down—and the Marriott Marquis built on its old site.

The wildly ornate lobby inside a budget hotel

December 6, 2010

From the outside, the Hotel Wolcott, at 4 East 31st Street, isn’t anything extraordinary.

Sure, this discount hotel has a lovely Beaux-Arts exterior, mostly obscured by scaffolding these days. But so do many other buildings nearby.

Still, if you head past the no-frills entrance and look up at the lobby ceiling . . . wow!

It’s a Louis XVI–style time machine, with an ornate high ceiling, mirrored panels, stained glass, marble pillars, and incredible chandeliers.

All this ornamentation reflects the Hotel Wolcott’s early days as a luxurious residence for the rich in Gilded Age New York.

Built in 1904, guests included Edith Wharton, and the hotel is frequently mentioned in society columns of the era.

It’s not everyone’s style, but the ceiling is incredibly preserved. A copy of the hotel’s brochure from 1904 is available on its website.