Fifth Avenue at 59th Street has been a prime piece of real estate since the late 19th century. The first luxe development there was the Hotel Savoy, built in 1892. It was actually an apartment house with a host of wealthy tenants.
It also seemed to be a fairly popular place to commit suicide. The New York Times archive includes several accounts of well-to-do men who offed themselves there.
The Hotel Savoy was replaced in 1927 by the Savoy Plaza Hotel, a McKim, Mead, and White beauty razed in 1964 to make way for the 50-story GM Building. To protest the demolition of such a lovely Art Deco structure, about a 100 architecture students and teachers held a “funeral march” at Grand Army Plaza across the street.
But the Savoy Plaza bit the dust anyway, and now New Yorkers rush in and out of FAO Schwartz (in the GM Building) and the subterranean Apple Store, not the smoky hotel bars and restaurants of another era.