Posts Tagged ‘One Astor Place’

The elegant hotel that helped make Times Square

October 31, 2011

Before 1904, the year the Hotel Astor opened its doors on Broadway and 44th Street, Times Square hasn’t been invented yet; this was still Longacre Square, the center of the carriage trade.

The theater district was concentrated many blocks south. And electric lights had yet to give the area its signature glow.

Change was in the air. Within the decade, the newly renamed Times Square was on its way to becoming New York’s premier entertainment district.

And the Beaux-Arts Hotel Astor—with its 11 floors and several ballrooms—quickly earned a rep as the most fashionable place to go for dinner, drinks, dancing, or to catch a rooftop breeze in the summer before air conditioning came along.

But tastes change. The Astor was sold to Sheraton in the 1950s; a fire ripped through its grand ballroom (right, in 1910) in 1964.

On the site now is a 54-story office tower called One Astor Plaza—the Astor name is its only link to the glitz and glamour of pre-World War II Times Square.