Posts Tagged ‘Madison Square Park luxury hotels’

The most beautiful ballroom in New York City

August 6, 2012

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