Exterior of the Villard Houses
|Location:||29½ 50th Street, 24--26 East 51st Street, and 451, 453, 455, and 457 Madison Avevenue, New York, New York|
|Architect:||McKim, Mead & White|
|Architectural style:||Renaissance, Other|
|NRHP Reference#:||75001210 |
|Added to NRHP:||September 02, 1975|
The building was constructed in 1884, designed by the architecture firm McKim, Mead and White three years after they started their company. The houses were commissioned by Henry Villard, then president of the Northern Pacific Railway, shortly before his railroad empire began to crumble. Ownership of the building changed through many hands throughout the century.
In 1968, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the complex an historical landmark. Restoration and construction for a new hotel complex was proposed by real estate developer Harry B. Helmsley who constructed the 51-story New York Palace Hotel tower directly behind the original building. The project was designed by architects Emery Roth & Sons and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer in 1977 and completed in 1980.
The original building was restored in 2003 and office space was furnished for city preservation group The Municipal Art Society, as part of an agreement to save the building from demolition. Exterior shots are used on the TV series Gossip Girl as the hotel where the van der Woodsen family lives.
Further reading 
- Kathrens, Michael C. (2005). Great Houses of New York, 1880–1930. New York: Acanthus Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-926494-34-3.
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