Saturday, July 16, 2016

Follow-up on the imminent threat to the fabled Waldorf=Astoria public spaces


The last rehab of the Waldorf=Astoria lobby finally got it right -- and it actually looks better with people bustling in what is, after all, a hotel lobby. (Click to enlarge.)

"We are distressed to learn that the world’s preeminent Art Deco hotel will be gutted and turned into condos and fear that the lobby, entrances, Louis Rigal murals, and other great public spaces, such as the Grand Ballroom, will be destroyed."
-- from a statement by the Art Deco Society of New York

by Ken

When I wrote recently about the not-officially-announced but apparently sure-to-happen gutting of the interior of the fabled Waldorf=Astoria hotel ("'People familiar with the matter' say that somebody, possibly the new Chinese owners, plans to turn NYC Mayor de Blasio into condos," July 1), as reported in the Wall Street Journal ("Classic Waldorf Hotel to Be Gutted, Up to 1,100 Rooms Turned Into Condos"), my first thought was:
The irony here is that the last renovation of the Park Avenue lobby, largely aiming at restoring it to its once-fabled beauty and grandeur, has been generally accounted a considerable success. Thank goodness that can be expected to be wiped away.
It didn't take long for the Art Deco Society of New York to jump into the fray (see the snatch of its statement which I've quoted above), and earlier this week ADSNY sent out this e-mail appeal:

We're writing to enlist all of you to support us in protecting the interior spaces of one of New York's most celebrated and important Art Deco buildings, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Last week, along with two preservationists from the Historic Districts Council, we explored many of the original stunning interior Art Deco spaces in the legendary Waldorf.

Sitting in the lobby, mystified and frustrated, we were alarmed that this iconic space is about to be decimated if we don't unite immediately to encourage the Landmarks Preservation Commission to save it.

As we toured the beautiful rooms and hallways, the need to rally to preserve the Waldorf's interiors became incontestable. We wanted to share some of the spaces and architectural elements that will be lost forever if we don't make our voices heard today.

Your voice counts! All you have to do to help protect this important Art Deco building is:

• Click the "ACT NOW!" button below
• Select "Misc. Comments" for Message Type
• Select "Landmarking Process" for Message Topic
• Fill in your contact information if you so choose
• Write your own or paste this statement into the Message text box: "I implore the LPC to act quickly in calendaring and designating the public interior spaces of the Waldorf-Astoria before these iconic spaces are demolished."


As far as I know, there's still no official word about what exactly is planned for the Waldorf=Astoria, and in particular its great public spaces. Experience teaches us to expect the worst, which is why the loudest possible noise is about the best hope for some constructive impact.

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At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate Art Deco, but working class people don't have the money to defend their artistic resources. If the wealthy can't be bothered, the law lets them do what they want since it's their property.

Anyone remember the Buffalo in Chicago?

At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the wealthy start caring about the loss of working class neighborhoods I'll care about their loss of high class properties and luxury ambience

At 9:20 PM, Blogger AmericanaStar said...

You have totally missed the point. Everyone is free to walk into the Waldorf and enjoy it's beauty. We cannot let the interests of foreign companies wipe out our cultural and architectural history just because they can. Take a trip and look at what we could be losing. Do not make a short sighted statement that will make us all lose this forever. Think about Grand Central Terminal. New York erstwhile from every walk of life contributed and it was saved from ruin like Penn Station. Know what you are talking about before you talk!


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