|Great Architects of New York: Henry J. Hardenbergh|
49 West 32nd Street or
New York, N.Y. 10001
West 32nd Street and Broadway, northeast corner, and West 33rd Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, south side
Original building (facing 33rd Street): Aug. 20, 1897, to Sept. 27, 1898; the southern addition was built in two phases, first, a piece with 43 feet of frontage on Broadway, from Oct. 29, 1901, to March 30, 1903, and second, the corner piece with frontage on Broadway and on 32nd Street, from April 20, 1909, to Sept. 26, 1910.
Hotel (a Holiday Inn)
"An opulent French Renaissance pile, topped with several stories of mansards; the south facade is the real front. For years a notorious shelter for the homeless, now reclaimed for the middle class tourist."
Designated an individual landmark in 1998.
New York Architecture Images
An imposing and grand building, this is the 1907-1910 addition. This was Hardenbergh's first hotel project after the Plaza. Here he began using the deep horizontal grooves that would become a trademark of his later projects. The hotel's rise, and fall, and second rise trace New York City's own fate over the decades of the 20th century.
The enlargement opened for business on Dec. 21, 1910, in what was then the heart of a fashionable shopping district and the Broadway theaters. But by mid-century, the theaters had moved to Times Square and the stores had moved to Fifth Avenue. The building remained as an increasingly seedy hotel until 1973, when the city began housing homeless families there. It was during this period that the building earned a tough reputation as a home not just for homeless families, but for prostitutes, thugs, drug dealers and addicts, lead and asbestos. USA Today later called it "America's most notorious welfare hotel." As the paper wrote, the welfare hotel "was so noisy the kids couldn't sleep, so cold they wore coats indoors, so dangerous they couldn't play in the hallway, so infested they couldn't play on the floor." About the only place to play back then was the plaza of an office building across the street. The original room doors had been replaced by steel doors, the room numbers spray-painted on. Then in 1989, the building was purchased by Harold Thurman, a real estate developer from Long Island, and the homeless families checked out. In the early 1990s, as Mr. Thurman sought a hotel chain to restore the building to its original use, the building stood vacant, save for ground floor stores. In May 1998, to his consternation, the building was granted landmark status. That October, it reopened as the Holiday Inn Martinique on Broadway.