Monday, December 26, 2011

The Waldorf Astoria Hotel

The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, designed in two parts in 1893 and 1897 by Henry J. Hardenbergh on 5th Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets in New York City. Originally commissioned by William Waldorf Astor as the Waldorf Hotel in 1893 on half the block, the hotel was joined with his cousin John Jacob Astor IV's half block Astoria Hotel in 1897. The two buildings combined for 1,300 guest rooms and 40 public rooms. The hotel was demolished in 1929 to make way for the Empire State Building. Click HERE for more on the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Photos from Architecture and Building, 1898.


Patricia said...

If I had a time machine, this is a place I'd want to go. To just sit in the lobby and watch the hustle and bustle of trunks and businessmen and hotel staff and families and servants all coming and going. A world of gracious efficiency. It doesn't take much to imagine it -- and also to be so close to the original Penn Station. I read somewhere on line a comment about the new Penn Station where someone remarked, "We used to arrive like kings, and now we scuttle in like rats." I thought that was such an apt description.

archibuff said...

Patricia, the quote by Vincent Scully, a contemporary architect "One entered the city like a God, one scuttles in now like a rat" is so so so accurate that it truly hurts. As a current Penn Station commuter, it is sickening to know what was once there. To just see old photos of the great iron and glass train shed and the enormous waiting room and columned facade is heart breaking. Unfortunately for the original Waldorf, it's huge size made it easy for developers to acquire instead of having to go and negotiate with dozens of individual building owners to acquire a large site for the ESB. Plus, the current hotel is a gem from another design era so at least there was a bright side. With the new Penn Station, New York lost a landmark and was given a hideous cesspool.