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NYC: The Plaza Hotel | by wallyg
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NYC: The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel is a landmark 19-story luxury hotel. With a height of 250 feet, and a length of 400 feet, it occupies the west side of Grand Army Plaza, from which it derives its name, and extends along Central Park South.


The Plaza was the dream of financier Bernhard Beinecke, hotelier Fred Sterry and Harry S. Black, President of the Fuller Construction Company, who purchased a 15-year-old hotel of the same name on the site with the intent of replacing it. The French Renaissance château-style building was designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh at a cost of $12.5 million and opened to the public October 1, 1907.


Originally, The Plaza served primarily as a residence for wealthy New Yorkers. Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt were the first to sign the register. Today, the Vanderbilt Suite is a luxuriously appointed three-bedroom suite, and is used by Heads of State, Government and other distinguished visitors. For guests who chose to rent on a nightly basis at the time, single rooms started at $2.50 per night.


In the 1950s Eartha Kitt and Peggy Lee played the Persian Room. The Beatles stayed at the Plaza during their first visit to the United States in February, 1964. On November 28, 1966, in honor of publisher Katharine Graham, Truman Capote hosted his acclaimed "Black & White Ball" in the Grand Ballroom. In September 1985, the Plaza Accord--an agreement among the finance ministers of the United States, Japan, West Germany, France and Britain to bring down the price of the U.S. dollar against their currencies--was signed at the Plaza.


The Plaza was the setting for Kay Thompson's Eloise books. It was also the location for Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest - the first time a crew, director and cast assembled on site to make a picture. Before then, movies were shot almost entirely on Hollywood soundstages and rarely on location.


Conrad Hilton bought the Plaza for $7.4 million in 1943 and spent $6.0 million to refurbish the original, only to sell it later when he bought the Waldorf-Astoria. Donald Trump bought the Plaza for $407.5 million in 1988, and then sold it for $325 million in 1995 to a partnership between Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. It was sold again in 2004 for $675 million to a Manhattan developer, El Ad Properties. El Ad bought the hotel with plans of adding residential and commercial sections. The Plaza on April 30, 2005, to undergo extensive renovations and reopened on March 1, 2008. It now offers 282 hotel rooms and 152 private condo hotel units and is managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. In May 2007, a new apartment in the Plaza was sold for a record $50 Million.


The Plaza Hotel was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1969.


National Register #78001878 (1978)

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Taken on May 25, 2008