The Whitby is the name of the residential property at 325 W 45 Street in New York, NY. The Whitby was designed by famed architect Emery Roth and built by Bing & Bing general contractors. It was originally commissioned as a hotel by The Gresham Reality Company in 1924. The building was converted into a residential cooperative in 1988 by Premiere Marketing Services. The 10-story dwelling has 215 apartments.
The Whitby is located at 325 W 45th Street, midway between 8th and 9th avenues in Manhattan, New York City. The closest theatre to the building is The Al Hirschfeld Theatre, however with eight major broadway theaters residing on 45th Street, this street has the most theaters of any street in Manhattan. The Whitby is located just blocks from several Broadway Theaters, Times Square, Port Authority Bus Terminal, and four major subways lines. Nearby parks include Hells Kitchen Park, the Clinton Community Garden and the recently created (2006) Hudson River Park at Pier 84.
The building's architect, Emery Roth drew inspiration from the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. The Athenian monument was known to Roth from the reproduction that had featured in the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893. Roth also designed The Beresford and other landmark apartment houses and office blocks in New York. Construction began in 1923. The lobby, while completed with terrazzo tile, is of modest size, intended to maintain a residential feel and limit access to press and spectators. The construction process took approximately one year and when the building was completed in October 1924 it opened as a hotel, which it remained until the 1980s.
Six years after the building opened New York and the rest of the nation was headed into economic distress and World War II. During the Great Depression, many of the larger units in the building were subdivided to make them easier to rent. The larger '06-line' and '03-line' one bedroom units were divided into single studio units. As a result, the total number of apartments in the building was expanded by approximately 20 units. This was a fate that fell upon other similar buildings who resorted to unorthodox methods (deferred rent schemes, subdivision of apartments) to remain solvent.
Since that time, however, the market for residential real estate in New York City has changed significantly. The Whitby is now one of the most desirable pre-war apartment buildings in Hell's Kitchen. It converted to a co-op in 1988, meaning that most tenants in the apartments are actually shareholders in the corporation that owns the building. The few units that were not purchased at that time by sponsors or tenants that did not buy into the coop, are currently rent regulated or owned by the 325 W 45 ST Owners Corporation, whose board of directors presently manages building operations.
Prominent guests and residents
Because of its central location in the heart of the Theater District, The Whitby has had a large following among theatre professionals. In fact, The Whitby has a definite "mystique", with legendary celebrities such as Doris Day and Betty Grable listed among former residents. Even today, many who call The Whitby home are associated with the performing arts in one way or another. Legendary cryptozoologist, Ivan Sanderson called the Whitby his home. The Whitby is situated on the same block as the Martin Beck Theatre, later to be renamed The Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
Broadway Theaters located near The Whitby on 45th Street
- Lyceum Theatre - 149 West 45th Street
- Booth Theatre - 222 West 45th Street
- Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre - 236 West 45th Street
- Music Box Theatre - 239 West 45th Street
- Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre - 242 West 45th Street
- Imperial Theatre - 249 West 45th Street
- John Golden Theatre - 252 West 45th Street
- Al Hirschfeld Theatre - 302 West 45th Street
- Neuffer, Elizabeth (1988-01-04). "In 45th Street Apartments, Time of Change for Actors". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- It opened for business October 1, 1924. (The New York Times "The Whitby New Apartment In Times Square Section." October 1, 1924).