as seen from Central Park
|Location||2 East 61st street, Manhattan, New York City, United States|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Schultze & Weaver|
The Pierre is a luxury hotel located at 2 East 61st Street at the intersection of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, facing Central Park. The hotel, which was designed by Schultze & Weaver, opened in 1930, and was later acquired by Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces of India. Standing 525.01 feet (160.02 m) tall, it is located within the Upper East Side Historic District as designated in 1981 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Charles Pierre Casalasco left his father's restaurant in Ajaccio, Corsica, where he had started as a busboy, assumed Charles Pierre as his full professional name, and began work at the Hotel Anglais in Monte Carlo.
Pierre went on to study haute cuisine in Paris, and he later traveled to London where he met the American restaurateur, Louis Sherry, who offered Pierre a position. After Pierre arrived in New York as a 25-year-old immigrant, he made his first mark as first assistant at Sherry's Restaurant and became professionally acquainted with members of the Social Register, as well as newer millionaires like J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts. After nine years at Sherry's, Pierre left, first for the Ritz-Carlton on Madison Avenue at Forty-sixth Street, then opening his own restaurant on Forty-fifth Street immediately west of Fifth Avenue, and finally at Pierre's on Park at 230 Park Avenue.
At the height of his success, dissatisfied with the increasing democratization of public manners, Pierre sold his restaurant and entered a joint venture with a group of Wall Street financiers, "among them Otto H. Kahn, Finley J. Shepherd (who had married Helen Gould), Edward F. Hutton, Walter P. Chrysler, and Robert Livingston Gerry, Sr. (the son of Elbridge Thomas Gerry, lawyer, philanthropist and grandson of Elbridge Gerry, the inventor of 'Gerrymandering')".
The 714-room Pierre Hotel that rose forty-one stories on the site of the Gerry mansion at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 61st Street allowed for unrestricted views of Central Park. It cost $15 million (approximately $210 million in 2013) to build and opened to grand fanfare in October 1930. The hotel was designed by the New York firm of Schultze and Weaver as a skyscraper that rises in a blond-brick shaft from a limestone-fronted Louis XVI base. Its topmost floors render it an easily-recognizable landmark on the New York skyline; they are modeled after Mansart's Royal Chapel at Versailles, a system of Corinthian pilasters and arch-headed windows, with octagonal ends, under a tall, slanted, copper roof that is pierced with bronze-finished bull's-eye dormers. New York society turned out to attend the gala dinner that marked the opening of The Pierre; it was prepared by Auguste Escoffier, "the father of French chefs", who served as a guest chef at The Pierre in its early years.
As markets continued to collapse during the Great Depression, The Pierre went into bankruptcy in 1932. The oilman, J. Paul Getty, bought it for about $2.5 million in 1938 (approximately $41.9 million in 2013) and subsequently sold many cooperative apartments in the building.
Beginning in 1948, New York City's ABC television and FM radio station (then called WJZ-TV Channel 7 and WJZ-FM 95.5, now WABC-TV and WPLJ) broadcast from a tower atop the Pierre, until moving to the Empire State Building a few years later.
The Pierre was the scene of the Pierre Hotel Robbery in 1972.
Today, the hotel contains 189 guest accommodations, including forty suites, and thirteen grand suites. Dining options in the hotel include the restaurant Sirio located off Fifth Avenue and the 2E Lounge off the Main Lobby of the hotel.
The Pierre came under the management of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in 1981. In its 75th anniversary year in 2005, The Pierre became a Taj Hotel as Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, a global chain of fine luxury hotels and resorts, succeeded as the new lessee and operator. Taj Hotels is part of India's Tata Group.
In 1959, seventy-five apartments were sold to a cooperative of private residents, while The Pierre's owner at that time, J. Paul Getty, retained control of the hotel's services and guest rooms. Among the permanent residents at The Pierre have been Elizabeth Taylor, Viacom entertainment-company chairman Sumner Redstone, Mohamed al-Fayed, then the owner of Harrods, and the late designer Yves Saint-Laurent. Thirteen of the apartments have since become "grand suites".
A triplex co-op that occupies the top three floors was placed on the market in 2003, with a pricetag of $70 million. This 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) apartment features five bedrooms, four terraces, a paneled library, a wine cellar, a black Belgian-marble staircase and the hotel's former ballroom with 23-foot (7.0 m) high ceilings. It was originally purchased by the hedge-fund manager Martin Zweig, from publishing heiress Mary, Lady Fairfax, in 1999 for $21.5 million. With its $70 million price tag payable in full at purchase, the co-op was listed in 2006 in Forbes Magazine as the eighth-most expensive home in the world, fourth-most expensive home in the United States, and second-most expensive home in the Northeastern United States in 2006.
In popular culture
The Pierre has frequently appeared as a setting in films and in television series.
- The Pierre was referenced in the M*A*S*H episode called "The Party" in season 7, in which the relatives of the main characters get together at the hotel.
- The tango scene in the film Scent of a Woman was shot in the Pierre's Cotillion Ballroom.
- In The Sopranos episode "In Camelot," Fran Felstein tells Tony Soprano about President John F. Kennedy's invitation to rendezvous at The Pierre Hotel, and how a steel workers strike aborted those plans.
- In an early episode of Mad Men season 1, while apartment shopping, Pete Campbell's wife Trudy remarks that the sink of the master bathroom is the same as in The Pierre. In season 2, Roger Sterling's wife Mona mentions that the two had their wedding reception at The Pierre. In the season 3 finale of the show, Sterling Cooper Advertising becomes Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and relocates to room 435 of The Pierre.
- In the 2009 film Grey Gardens, Edith Bouvier "Little Edie" Beale has her débutante ball at the hotel, a true story.
- In the Real Housewives of New York City, cast member Ramona Singer had her commitment ceremony at The Pierre.
- The Pierre also appears several times in episodes of CSI:NY (Season 6, Episode 10: "Death House"; Season 7, Episode 2: "Unfriendly Chat").
- Aerial shots of the Pierre penthouse exteriors were used as Arthur Bach's apartment in the 2011 film, Arthur.
- "Hotel Pierre" on Emporis.com
- Casalasco and the founding of The Pierre follows the account in (Simon 1978), reported on-line at the City Review.
- Glamorized history reports his father as owner of the Hotel Anglais, and Charles Pierre as rubbing shoulders with the Russian grand dukes and European royalty who patronized his father's hotel.
- "Smart women were beginning to smoke in public rooms. Mr. Sherry forbade it in his restaurant, an irritating, old-fashioned prohibition, Pierre thought, and, after flights of heated words he left." (Simon 1978).
- Simon 1978.
- Schultze, Leonard, S. Fullerton Weaver, Marianne Lamonaca, and Jonathan Mogul. Grand Hotels of the Jazz Age: the Architecture of Schultze & Weaver. Miami Beach: Wolfsonian-Florida International University, 2005.
- Eisenberg, Paul, Erica Duecy, and Jennifer Paull. Fodor's 2008 New York City. New York: Fodor's Travel Publications, 2008.
- Schoeneman, Deborah. (May 21, 2005) New York's Most Expensive Apartment – Harvey Weinstein's Latest Deal – Does Renovating Payoff?. Newyorkmetro.com. Retrieved on 2011-04-10.
- Most Expensive Homes In The World 2006. Forbes.com (July 24, 2006). Retrieved on 2011-04-10.
- Most Expensive Homes In The U.S. 2006. Forbes.com (June 23, 2006). Retrieved on 2011-04-10.
- Most Expensive Homes in the U.S. 2006: Northeast. Forbes.com. Retrieved on 2011-04-10.
- $90m cash for New York 'sky chateau' – Property News @. Domain.com.au. Retrieved on 2011-04-10.
- Simon, Kate (1978). Fifth Avenue: A Very Social History. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0151307024.
- Berkow, Ira (1987). The Man Who Robbed The Pierre: The Story of Bobby Comfort and the Biggest Hotel Robbery Ever. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 0689119186.
- Hoffman, William; Headley, Lake (1992). Contract Killer: The Explosive Story of the Mafia's Most Notorious Hit Man Donald "Tony the Greek" Frankos. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN 1560250453.
- Pileggi, Nicholas (1985). Wiseguy: Life In A Mafia Family. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0671447343.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Pierre.|
- Official website
- Wired New York Forum
- The Pierre: 795 Fifth Ave. Detailed building information, building ratings and area maps