Posts Tagged ‘New York City in the 1920s’

The Commodore: “New York’s Newest Hotel”

December 15, 2014

Recognize this stately building? Probably not, though it still stands today, a commanding presence next to Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street.


Opened in 1919, it’s the Commodore, billed on the back of this postcard as “New York’s newest and most up-to-date hotel . . . containing 2,000 rooms with baths and circulating ice water in every room.”

CommodorehotelmcnyAfter the hotel’s owner (the New York Central Railroad, owner of Grand Central too) went bust in the late 1970s, Donald Trump came along.

He remodeled the exterior in reflective glass and gave it a more contemporary name, the Grand Hyatt—erasing the reference to Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, railroad tycoon and owner of the original Grand Central Depot.

It’s been the Grand Hyatt since reopening in 1980. Here’s another view of it and the rest of what became of Pershing Square.

[Left: The Commodore in 1926, from the MCNY Digital Gallery]

A view of nighttime New York in the 1920s

August 18, 2010

Another enchanting drypoint etching by Martin Lewis, titled “Fifth Avenue Bridge.” It dates to 1928.

Was there once a Fifth Avenue Bridge? Looks more like a temporary walkway, but at what cross street is a mystery.

A little bit of England on the Upper West Side

July 10, 2010

How did a gated collection of tiny Tudor homes end up amid the colossal apartment buildings of the Upper West Side?

This Alice in Wonderland–like enclave was built in 1921 by an Ireland-born nightclub baron.

He wanted the street to look like the set of a popular romantic comedy, Pomander Walk, which was set in 1805 London.

Called Pomander Walk, naturally, the private alley features 20 tiny homes facing each other across a walkway running from 94th to 95th Street and bounded by West End Avenue and Broadway.

A thick iron gate makes it difficult to get a photo of the homes inside, which are fronted by lovely gardens. 

But managed to get a few.