541 Lexington Avenue: Montclair Hotel (now W New York Hotel)
Montclair Hotel, now W Hotel
541 Lexington Avenue, northeast corner East 49th Street
Emery Roth, 1927-28
The 800-room Montclair Hotel is located immediately across Lexington Avenue from the Waldorf-Astoria. The building was designed by Emery Roth, then at the height of his career as an architect who specialized in tall apartment buildings and hotels designed, as is this building, in a Renaissance-inspired style. The ornament in this case has a Spanish feel, as a writer for the Real Estate Record and Builders Guide noted, “Emery Roth has adapted the most suitable features of Spanish architecture, crowning the structure with a battlemented tower containing two penthouses.” The Montclair was planned for the Telfour Holding Company, established by Harris H. and Percy Uris, who would become a major force in the construction of Midtown office buildings after World War II. Despite its simplicity, the buff-brick and limestone Montclair is embellished with some particularly delightful detail. On the second floor, small figures set atop the windows appear to be carrying the weight of the building on their backs, while over the entrance elephants curl their trunks around the struts of the marquee, seemingly preventing it from falling on arriving guests.
“Hotel Montclair, New York City”, Architecture and Building 61 (January 1929): 5, plate 8-9.
“$6,000,000 Hotel Started in Lexington Avenue,” Real Estate Record and Builders Guide 121 (May 12, 1928): 7.