Tag Archives: Fifth Avenue

Americana: The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel opened in 1907, and almost instantly became one of New York's most famous landmarks. That's been helped along by its setting for a wide variety of films, ranging from Plaza Suite to Crocodile Dundee to Sleepless in Seattle. Uploaded by baldpunk.com.

When I made my first visit to New York City as an adult, I had a list of the sights I wanted to see as a first-timer. Like most people, I wanted to go to Times Square (quite a bit edgier back then), Rockefeller Center, and the Metropolitan Museum. But another destination was a place I considered the heart of New York – The Plaza Hotel. I walked through the lobby and thought of all the movers and shakers who had been there before. And I still love the place.

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Located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South, the Plaza has been an integral part of New York since it was built in 1907. At that time, you could stay in a room for $2.50 a night – expect to pay close to a grand for that room today. The Beatles stayed at The Plaza when they came to America in 1964. And Donald Trump once owned the hotel, saying, “I haven’t purchased a building, I’ve purchased a masterpiece – the Mona Lisa.”

Recently, The Plaza underwent renovation and is now 282 hotel rooms and 152 private condo units. No mention of The Plaza is complete without a mention of all the movies filmed there. Some of the more memorable include Funny Girl, Plaza Suite, Arthur, Crocodile Dundee, Scent of a Woman, and Sleepless in Seattle.

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Architecture: The Guggenheim

 

Frank Lloyd Wright thought New York was a bad choice for the Guggenheim Museum. Too crowded, too many buildings for his masterpiece to stand out. But Mr. Guggenheim prevailed, and those who love NYC are delighted he did. Uploaded by fanpop.com.

Isn’t it odd how a unique building can divide people initially, then later be revered as one of the country’s greatest works of architecture? That’s the story of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, usually called The Guggenheim. It was Frank Lloyd Wright’s last major design, and it polarized the New York creative crowd. Several artists even signed a letter, saying their works couldn’t be properly displayed in such a limited space.

Uploaded by thedesignfiles.net.

There’s no question that this isn’t The Metropolitan Museum. Wright worked on the drawings for 15 years before settling on the design. Unfortunately, neither Mr. Guggenheim nor Mr. Wright survived to see the building open. When it entertained its first visitors in October, 1959, it transformed the block at 89th Street and 5th Avenue on which it’s situated. And the amazing thing is that it doesn’t look dated at all. It could have been created today, and been just as beautiful and startling as it did more than a half century ago.

But, as I said earlier, this success didn’t come without significant opposition. Many expressed concern that the building would overpower the art inside. Wright answered, “On the contrary, (the purpose) was to make the building and the painting an uninterrupted, beautiful symphony such as never existed in the World of Art before.”