Waldorf-Astoria Has Had a Public Hearing !

The Waldorf-Astoria has been calendared by the Landmarks Preservation Commission! Thank You!

Please Don't Disturb the Art Deco

 

View the self-guided tour 

Update!

The Waldorf-Astoria had a Public Hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission on January 27, 2017.27 View our testimony

The Waldorf-Astoria has been officially calendared by the Landmarks Preservation Commission!

 

2. 301 Park Avenue – Waldorf-Astoria Hotel Interiors

Manhattan – Block 1304 – Lot 7501 CD: 5
ITEM PROPOSED FOR COMMISSION’S CALENDAR

Interior spaces on the Ground, First, Second and Third Floors in the Art Deco individual landmark skyscraper hotel built 1929-31, by Schultze and Weaver, with Lloyd Morgan, partner in charge.

On Tuesday, November 1, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote to calendar a number of publicly-accessible spaces in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for consideration as NYC Interior Landmarks.  The LPC will be considering:

The ground floor interior, consisting of

  • the Park Avenue vestibules and foyer
  • the Lexington Avenue vestibules and foyer

The first floor interior consisting of

  • the Park Avenue Lobby and colonnade,
  • West Lounge (formerly Peacock Alley)
  • West Elevator Lobby
  • Main Lobby
  • Main Lobby Hall
  • East Arcade
  • Lexington Avenue stairs and landing

The second floor interior consisting of

  • the Lexington Avenue stairs and landing

The third floor interior consisting of

  • the Lexington Avenue stairs and landing
  • the Grand Ballroom and balconies
  • Ballroom Entrance Hall (formerly Silver Gallery)
  • Ballroom Foyer
  • Basildon Room
  • Jade Room
  • Astor Gallery
  • foyer connecting the Jade Gallery and Astor Gallery with Lexington Avenue stairs

 

LPC is considering all the fixtures and interior components of these spaces, which may include but are not limited to the wall surfaces, ceiling surfaces and floor surfaces, murals, mirrors, chandeliers, lighting fixtures, attached furnishings, doors, exterior elevator doors and grilles, railings and balustrades, decorative metalwork and attached decorative elements.

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was bought by the Chinese corporation Anbang Insurance Group in 2014 for $1.95 billion. Anbang has announced that the majority of the hotel’s 1,300 hotel suites will be converted into residential units but the exact plans have not been made public leaving the hotel’s distinctive and glamorous ballrooms and lobbies to an uncertain fate.

HDC, along with our preservation allies, raised public concerns about the preservation of this distinctive New York space – and hosted a free self-guided tour of the hotel which was attended by over 300 people! Coincidentally, it was the same night at the hotel’s 85th Birthday celebration and preservationists had a merry time being chased by vigilant hotel security.  We also participated in a virtual tour of the interior spaces for Travel + Leisure Magazine led by our friends at the Art Deco Society of New York.

We’re thrilled that the LPC is taking this step to help protect this distinctive and quintessential New York icon. Thank you to everyone who wrote in and showed up – your voice matters and, with your support, sometimes we can have nice things!


The unthinkable has arrived: some of New York’s most opulent and sumptuous publicly-accessible interior spaces may soon vanish in the dust of renovation.

While the exterior is protected as an Individual Landmark, the Waldorf-Astoria’s fantastic interior hallways, lobby and ballrooms remain unprotected. The new owner of the storied skyscraper,  Anbang Insurance Group, plans to close the Waldorf-Astoria for three years and spend more than $1 billion gut-renovating the entire building for a condominium conversion, which will radically transform the famed hotel’s interior.

The 1931 masterpiece was designed and maintained to operate as the world’s premier hotel. While specific plans for the renovation have not been circulated, we are unfortunately certain that, without protection and appropriate oversight, any interior renovations to these grand spaces will certainly lead to diminution of design excellence and the destruction of original finishings that can never be replaced.

Please scroll down to view some photos of the lavish rooms, which HDC was able to access with ease, in order to share some of this treasure with you! We encourage you to make a visit, too. These exquisite spaces are all open to the public.

Don’t count on someone else to act – we need your help!

Please click here to send Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan a letter urging the Landmarks Preservation Commission to act swiftly and Calendar the Waldorf-Astoria. What’s here today may be gone tomorrow. HDC thanks our colleagues at the Art Deco Society of NY and the Landmarks Conservancy, who are also calling the world to action.

A copy of our letter (please click here to send yours):

I urge the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the interiors of the Waldorf-Astoria at 301 Park Avenue, Manhattan. These interiors were designed to be the utmost in hotel opulence and survive remarkably intact. A major restoration was undertaken in 1983. The rooms that need protection include the Park Avenue lobby, which includes the “Wheel of Life” mosaic tile artwork by the 1925 Paris Exposition showcase artist Louis Rigal, and is composed of 148,000 marble tiles from seven different countries; the Lexington Avenue Lobby and Peacock Alley, which features a clock from the Columbian Exposition of 1893; the Grand Ballroom, Astor and Jade ballrooms, all of which retain their original finishings; the Basildon Room with finishings imported from an 18th century country house in Berkshire, England; the Silver room, which is covered with mirrors, inspired by Versaille’s Galerie des Glaces, include Edward Simmons murals of the months and seasons, originally installed in the Astor Gallery in the original 1897 Waldorf on 5th Avenue; and the Starlight Roof, whose original remaining features are largely intact, including the Art Deco grille work ceiling, which originally retracted, allowing guests to dine and drink beneath the stars above Park Avenue before being permanently closed in 1950 to accommodate HVAC.  Original features abound throughout all of the major, publicly accessible rooms and corridors in this magnificent building, including Art Deco moldings, ceiling medallions, elaborate carved woodwork, marble pilasters, murals, grille work, railings, light fixtures, banisters, counter tops, door enframements and plaster work.

Don’t let the Waldorf-Astoria be destroyed on your administration’s watch. The Waldorf’s interiors are irreplaceable artworks which add to the glory of New York City and should be preserved for future generations of New Yorkers.

Category: Alert, LPC · Tags:

Comments

11 Responses to “Waldorf-Astoria Has Had a Public Hearing !”
  1. Janet Ross says:

    I agree this is truly unthinkable. It will literally gut an essential part of New York City’s unique heritage.

    Janet Ross

  2. Jane Brandes says:

    You may not hear from the millions who would be distraught if the high Art Deco of the Waldor interior, and its beauty, were suddenly lost, because they do not yet know about that possibility. But you will hear outrage and mourning if that were to come about.

    One doesn’t expect to have to advocate for the treasures of NYC architecture; but it seems that we do. Please play a strong and much-needed role, especially at this time when we have a mayor who appears to be totally out of touch with Landmark Preservation.

  3. Mandrew says:

    If we keep erasing our past to satisfy the egos of the present we won’t have anything to remind the future of how we got to be where we are now. Something that is still as unique and inspiring as the Waldorf Astoria interiors should be preserved so that generations to come will have something to marvel at.. Leave it alone. Let the egos build their dream somewhere else.

  4. Joan Schwieters says:

    It would be a disgrace to change the beauty of this building. How sad if our children and their children do not get to see this treasure!

  5. Janice Lopez says:

    Out with the old in with the new. Let us not forget that without the old there is no new!

    The Waldorf Astoria is an American treasure that was sold to a foreign inverstor for a profit .
    Sad to say but true money is the root of evil. Let’s preserve this landmark inside and out for a children to see the grandeur of this great city of this great nation.

    JLO

  6. Of course this should be saved, both for its architectural quality and the historic events that have taken place there.

  7. congradulation art deco society !

  8. james cooper says:

    I’m an architect and architectural historian, sitting in the WA lobby as I write, eating brunch and listening to jazz on Cole Porter’s piano… this MUST be saved and remain publicly accessible! This is one of the most beautiful Art Deco interiors in the world. What a tragedy if it were lost. The whole building should be protected, not just the exterior!

  9. I would not be exaggerating if I were to say that I was devastated when I learned a few months ago that the interiors of the Waldorf were not landmark protected. I have been taking pictures and visiting every chance I get since then.

    When I was a child and my parents would bring us 3 kids into NYC to see the circus (another cultural event that will be disappearing in May), my mother would always have us stop at the Waldorf to use the restrooms. Aside from the obvious, it was her way of exposing us to the beauty and grandeur of a truly fine hotel to elevate our appreciation of such places and things.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. James Cooper and the other responders above. And, since I don’t recognize it on the list, will Sir Harry’s be protected and what will be happening to Cole Porter’s piano?

    I thank you for all of the good work that you do in helping to preserve our city’s (and countries) architectural treasures.

    Doreen Lynn Saunders

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