125 East 50th Street: Beverly Hotel (now Benjamin Hotel)
Beverly Hotel, now Benjamin Hotel
557 Lexington Avenue, a.k.a. 125 East 50th Street
Emery Roth; Sylvan Bien, associate architect, 1926-27
Planned as an apartment hotel for both transient and long-term guests, the thirty-story Beverly was designed in the eclectic pseudo-Renaissance manner favored by Emery Roth, who the authors of New York 1930 describe as “the unquestioned master of the luxury residential skyscraper.” The hotel is dramatically massed, with a fourteen-story base topped by a series of dramatic setbacks, reminiscent of an Italian hill town, culminating in a three-story octagonal tower. The massing included many setbacks that were designed as roof gardens, accessible through French doors. A writer for the Real Estate Record and Builders Guide placed the hotel within its original context:
“The Beverly is in keeping with the high class character of its neighbors and it will be notable for the latest design in modern architecture from the zoning viewpoint. The adoption of roof gardens at the setbacks while not a novelty for apartment houses has seldom been used where the multi-family house becomes a hotel. The height will make it one of the conspicuous skyscrapers in Mid-Manhattan.”
“The Beverly Apartment-Hotel, New York City,” Architecture 60 (October 1929): 221-222.
“New Beverly Hotel to be 25 Stories,” New York Times , November 7, 1926, sec, 11, 1.
“25-Story Apartment Hotel for Lexington Ave.,” Real Estate Record and Builders Guide 119 (April 16, 1927): 9.