Why is this building significant?
Since its opening, the Plaza has been an architectural landmark and a central focus of the City’s social life. Attracting fashionable and well-heeled New Yorkers and tourists alike, it was touted by its promoters to be nothing less than “the greatest hotel in the world.” The 18-story building, which resembles a French Renaissance château blown up to metropolitan scale, has a cast-iron structure; it originally contained 800 rooms, 500 bathrooms, and apartments with as many as 17 rooms. But it has long been the building’s public rooms that arguably have been its greatest and most memorable draw. The Palm Court, formerly the Tea Room, was modeled on the Carlton Tea Room in London, complete with palm trees and mirrored walls. The grandly Classical Champagne Bar was once frequented by the Prince of Wales and the financier Diamond Jim Brady.
What did the New York Landmarks Conservancy do?
We helped lead a successful campaign to landmark the building’s public rooms when a new owner proposed inappropriate alterations. We were also given an easement on the hotel that requires us to regularly inspect the exterior of the building and approve work.