Drake Hotel (New York City)
The hotel was built in 1926 by the real estate organization of Bing & Bing. It was a 21-floor complex with 495 rooms. According to one source, "it boasted innovations such as automatic refrigeration as well as spacious, luxurious rooms and suites." Fauchon chocolates was located on the ground floor.
Silent film star Lillian Gish lived at the hotel from 1946 to 1949. Other notable guests included Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Judy Garland, Jimi Hendrix and Glenn Gould. Restauranteur Toots Shor lived there in his final years. Songwriter Jerome Kern collapsed on the sidewalk in front of the Drake on November 5, 1945.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Drake Hotel was the preferred accommodation in New York for a number of touring rock bands, such as Led Zeppelin and The Who. During their stay there in July 1973, Led Zeppelin had $203,000 in cash stolen from a safe deposit box at the hotel. The money was never recovered and the identity of the thief or thieves has never been discovered. The band later sued the Drake Hotel for the theft. The British rock band Slade stayed at the hotel on 6 October 1973 - after their gig at the New York Academy of Music. Another British rock band Sweet made The Drake their home from home during gruelling tours in the USA in the 1970s. Shepheard's was touted as the most fashionable nightclub of the time, where people like Lee Radziwill and Julie Newmar danced The Frug to a live disc jockey.
The hotel was acquired in the early 1980s by the Swissotel company of Zurich, which renamed it Swissotel The Drake and undertook a $52 million room-by-room renovation of the building. Renovations were completed in 1991. In 2006 the hotel was sold for $440 million to developer Harry Macklowe. It was demolished in 2007, and the site became one of New York's most valuable development sites in 2011.
In mid-2012, a planned 1,398-foot (426 m) residential skyscraper, 432 Park Avenue, began construction on the site. Designed by Rafael Viñoly around "the purest geometric form: the square," the tower will have eighty-four 93-foot-square stories, each with six 100-square-foot windows per face. The tower's condominium units will range from a 351-square-foot studio to a six-bedroom, seven-bath penthouse with a library, already under agreement for $95 million. When it topped out in October 2014, 432 Park Avenue became the second-tallest building in New York City by roof height, with a roof height surpassing One World Trade Center by 32 ft (9.8 m). It is now the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere.
- Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 21 hotel-online.com, written by Stanley Turkel, retrieved December 2006
- Chris Welch (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. ISBN 1-85797-930-3, p. 68.
- "Drake Hotel tops most valuable NYC development sites list". The Real Deal New York. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "432 Park Avenue". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- "Forbes Life". Retrieved October 17, 2014.