The St. Regis or What do Napoleon, Dalí and Marilyn Monroe have in common?

Architects: Trowbridge and Livingston Built: 1904 Although there is seemingly nothing in common between Napoleon Buonaparte and the 17th-century French monk named Francis Regis, these names strangely come together in the story of the St. Regis Hotel in New York. Built in 1904 by John Jacob Astor IV as the most opulent hotel in the world, it…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – one spectacular folly!

Architect: James Renwick Jr. Built: 1858-1879 John Hughes, Archbishop of New York, had a vision for a new, grandiose Catholic cathedral that would offset the indignities suffered by the Catholics in 19th century New York. They called it Hughes’ folly. Up until the 19th century, New York was a Protestant stronghold with an insignificant Catholic…

The Flatiron – what’s in the name?

Architect Daniel H. Burnham Date 1902 What better way to advertise a successful company than to have a striking building bear its name! The Fuller Company, one of the largest construction companies in the United States (aka the world), erected a highly unusual building to house its headquarters that was to be called the Fuller…

The Plaza – Where Nothing Unimportant Ever Happens

  It was once said that “Nothing unimportant ever happens in the Plaza.” One of America’s finest and most celebrated luxury hotels, it has the distinction of being the one and only. There is only one Plaza. The Plaza, the most expensive hotel in the city’s history, opened amidst much fanfare on October 1, 1907, being…

Grand Central Terminal

Please, do not, under any circumstance, call it a station. It’s a Terminal. Grand Central Terminal was built to house Cornelius Vanderbilt’s railroad network and was envisioned as a gateway to the city. It’s hard to underestimate its grandeur: every day, more than 750,000 people pass through the Grand Central, which is more than the entire…

“Mesopotamian” in Manhattan

Although New York skyscrapers bear no restraint in height or a lack of diversity in architectural influences, colorful they are not! What separates the Fred F. French Building from the rest is its warm hue and multicolored decorations. The only “Mesopotamian” or “Babylonian” inspired skyscraper in Manhattan, The Fred F. French Building, is covered in…

Tiffany Blue

If you ever wanted to paint a room with that delicate shade of robin egg blue – you are fresh out of luck! Pantone color No. 1837, called Tiffany Blue, is trademarked by Tiffany and Co and not commercially available. Also trademarked is a little blue box with the white satin ribbon tied around it:…

Alva Vanderbilt’s Party of the Century

March 26, 1883 “Petit Chateau” – 660 Fifth Ave @ 52nd Street When Alva Vanderbilt built a home, she built a castle, and when she threw a housewarming party, it was the party of the century. Alva Vanderbilt, the wife of William Kissam Vanderbilt (Cornelius Vanderbilt’s grandson), had a mission: to carve out her own…

Alva Vanderbilt’s “Petit Chateau”

Completed 1882 Demolished in 1926 Architect Richard Morris Hunt 660 5th Ave at W 52nd Street If you found yourself back in the 1880s and were standing at the corner of West 52nd Street and Fifth Ave, you’d be in awe of the massive castle-like white limestone structure modestly referred to as “Petit Chateau.” The…