The Carlyle Hotel, A Rosewood Hotel, known formally as The Carlyle, is a combination luxury and residential hotel located at 35 East 76th Street on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue, in the Upper East Side area of New York City. The hotel is designed in Art Deco style and was named after Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle.
Out of the Depression
The Carlyle was built by Moses Ginsberg, maternal grandfather of Rona Jaffe. Designed by architects Bien & Prince, it opened as a residential hotel, with apartments costing up to $20,000 a year. Apartment hotels had become increasingly popular since World War I. As the economy boomed and skyscrapers rose, New York was transforming so quickly that owning a townhouse began to fall out of fashion. The new thirty-five floor hotel "was to be a masterpiece in the modern idiom, in which shops and restaurants on the lower floors would give residents the convenience and comforts of a "community skyscraper". However, by the time the Carlyle was ready to open its doors, the 1929 stock market crash had decisively ended the boom times. The new hotel struggled, went into receivership in 1931 and was sold to the Lyleson Corporation in 1932. The new owners kept the original management, which was able to dramatically improve the propterty's financial situation through maintaining high occupancy and rates favorable to the hotel's costs. However, the hotel's reputation at this time was "staid rather than ritzy".
The next postwar boom allowed the hotel to take on new high-society prominence. In 1948, New York businessman Robert Whittle Downing purchased the Carlyle and began to transform it from a "respectable" address to a "downright fashionable" one, frequented by elegant Europeans. That year, Harry Truman became the first president to visit the Carlyle; each of his successors through Bill Clinton followed suit.
Rise to prominence
The Carlyle became known as "the New York White House" during the administration of President John F. Kennedy, who owned an apartment on the 34th floor for the last ten years of his life. He stayed at the apartment in a well-publicized visit for a few days just prior to his inauguration in January 1961. Marilyn Monroe was sneaked in through the service entrance on East 77th Street. After famously singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at Kennedy's birthday gala at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962, Monroe reportedly used a warren of tunnels to enter the Carlyle secretly with Kennedy and friends. The New York Post reported a Mob smear campaign plot on Robert Kennedy planned as an informant passed on information that a Mrs. Jacqueline Hammond had information on the sex-capade; however, the Post article stated "An FBI summary of the documents released yesterday said the bureau didn't consider the Milwaukee and Hammond information "solid".[clarification needed] Years later, longtime bellman Michael O'Connell recalled, "Those tunnels. President Kennedy knew more about the tunnels than I did". The Carlyle was the last place John F. Kennedy, Jr. ate breakfast before departing on his ill-fated plane trip to Martha's Vineyard with his wife and her sister.
The Council for United Civil Rights Leadership (CUCRL) was organized in a meeting held at the Carlyle. Malcolm X expressed his concerns with having a white man in charge of this new fundraising organization during a November 10, 1963 speech, Message to the Grassroots. He described the hotel (rather than just one suite) as being owned by the Kennedy family.
Entertainment and dining
The hotel's Café Carlyle has featured a number of well-known jazz performers – notably George Feyer from 1955–1968, and Bobby Short from 1968–2004. Woody Allen and his jazz band have played weekly at the café since 1996. Other artists who have performed at the Café Carlyle include Elaine Stritch, Judy Collins, Barbara Cook, Eartha Kitt, John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey, Keely Smith, Rita Moreno, Douglas Hodge, Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, Debbie Reynolds, Beverly Peer, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall, Melba Moore, Christine Ebersole, Lea Salonga, Kelli O'Hara, Sutton Foster, Bettye LaVette, Paulo Szot, Barb Jungr, Clint Holmes, Gregory Charles and Ute Lemper. Steve Tyrell has been the featured performer in December through New Year's Eve for several years. According to New York Times writer Joe Heller, Mick Jagger, maintains a residence at The Carlyle to use when he visits New York.
The Café Carlyle is noted for the murals by Marcel Vertes, which were cleaned in the summer of 2007 as part of a renovation and redecoration of the café. Interior designer Scott Salvator oversaw the renovation and redecoration, the first significant alterations to the Café since its debut in 1955. During the renovations the Café closed for three months and was widely praised after reopening in September 2007. Salvator removed the dropped acoustical ceiling, exposing two feet of newly found space which allowed for a modern sound and a lighting system to appeal to a younger generation.
The Bemelmans Bar is decorated with murals depicting Madeline in Central Park painted by Ludwig Bemelmans. Bemelmans is the namesake of the bar, and his mural there are his only artwork on display to the public. Instead of accepting payment for his work, Bemelmans received a year and a half of accommodations at The Carlyle for him and his family.
The Carlyle Restaurant was formerly known as Dumonet at the Carlyle.
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- Foulkes, p. 25
- Foulkes, p. 30
- Foulkes, p. 57
- Foulkes, pp. 69–71
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- Foulkes, p. 83
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- Hague, Lesley; Ballen, Sian (14 December 2007). "Scott Salvator". Newyorksocialdiary.com. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
- Ryzik, Melena (18 September 2007). "Wiping the Stains Off a Bit of Old New York Glamour". The New York Times (NYtimes.com). Retrieved 2014-02-07.
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