Posts Tagged ‘Longacre Square 1900’

A Christmas feast at Midtown’s new Hotel Pabst

December 21, 2020

Never heard of the Hotel Pabst? You’re not alone. The nine-story tower with a steel skeleton swathed in limestone only existed from 1899 to 1902—built on the slender triangle formed by Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 42nd Street at Longacre Square.

Hotel Pabst in Longacre Square

Run by the Pabst Brewing Company as part of a short-term effort to acquire hotels, the elegant hostelry at the upper reaches of the city’s theater district and lobster palaces was replaced by the New York Times‘ headquarters in 1904 (and Longacre Square became Times Square).

The spicy cover of the Hotel Pabst’s Christmas menu

The Pabst didn’t last, and no one alive today would remember it. But it needs to be noted that on December 25, 1900, the hotel sure cooked up a spectacular Christmas dinner.

The eye-popping Christmas dinner menu has been preserved by the New York Public Library in their Buttolph Collection of Menus. Between the carte de jour oyster offerings to the 20-plus desserts (plum pudding! Cream puffs!) are a dozen or so courses that must have taken an army of chefs to prepare.

Many of the dishes are the typical heavy fare of a hotel menu in New York of the era: terrapin a la Maryland, quail, stuffed turkey, filet of sole, prime beef, and lamb chops.

There’s a fair number of items borrowed from French menus, which makes sense, as French cuisine was seen as the most elegant at the time.

Some of the dishes are completely foreign to contemporary American tastes, however. Cold game pie, Philadelphia squabs, and reed ducks, anyone?

One thing stands out, though: Christmas dinner at a hotel in 1900 was certainly a feast. By the time you finished your Nesselrode pudding and revived yourself with your Turkish coffee, buttons must have been popping off your clothes!

[Top photo: MCNY; menu: NYPL Buttolph Collection of Menus]

Broadway at West 42nd Street: 1898 to 2011

August 3, 2011

“Even before the New York entertainment center moved up from Herald Square, the northwest corner of Broadway and 42nd Street featured a giant billboard advertising theatrical attractions,” states the caption for this photo from the fascinating 1976 book New York Then and Now.

I love the street cleaner pushing his barrel over Belgian block streets crisscrossed with streetcar tracks.

Later that year, the nine-story Hotel Pabst went up on the site, and nearby buildings torn down in 1902 to make way for the IRT subway. Theaters were moving in; check out the minstrel show signs at the far left in the 1903 photo above.

The corner kept changing fast. By 1905 The New York Times (at left) building replaced the hotel, and the plot of land, Longacre Square, was renamed Times Square.

The Times didn’t stay long. They moved to another building on West 43rd in 1913. The Times Tower and Square become New York icons of advertising and entertainment—the wholesome and the sleezy variety.

Fast-forward to 2011. Nothing from 1898 remains; the corner is a sea of neon, featuring monuments to commerce—like the big Chase bank.