Carlyle Hotel

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Carlyle Hotel
Carlyle Hotel logo.svg
Carlyle Hotel Madison 76 jeh.JPG
The hotel's Madison Avenue facade in 2009
General information
Location35 East 76th Street
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates40°46′28″N 73°57′48″W / 40.7744°N 73.9633°W / 40.7744; -73.9633Coordinates: 40°46′28″N 73°57′48″W / 40.7744°N 73.9633°W / 40.7744; -73.9633
OwnerRosewood Hotels & Resorts (since 2001)
Height129.8 m (426 ft)
Technical details
Floor count35[1]
Design and construction
Architect(s)Sylvan Bien and Harry M. Prince
Other information
Number of rooms190 (+ 60 privately owned residences)
Number of restaurants

The Carlyle Hotel, known formally as The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, is a combination luxury apartment hotel located at 35 East 76th Street on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and East 76th Street, on the Upper East Side of New York City. Opened in 1930, the hotel was designed in Art Deco style and was named after Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle.

Owned since 2001 by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts,[2] the Carlyle is a cooperative with 190 rental rooms and suites,[3] and 60 privately owned residences.

Out of the Depression[edit]

The Carlyle was built by Moses Ginsberg, maternal grandfather of Rona Jaffe.[4] Designed by architects Sylvan Bien and Harry M. Prince, it opened as an apartment hotel, with apartments costing up to $1 million a year.[5] 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.[6] 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".[7]

However, by the time the Carlyle was ready to open its doors in 1930, the 1929 stock market crash had started the Great Depression. The new hotel struggled, went into receivership in 1931, and was sold to the Lyleson Corporation in 1932.[5] The new owners kept the original management, which was able to dramatically improve the property'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".[8]

The next postwar boom allowed the hotel to take on new high-society prominence. In 1948, New York businessman Robert Whittle Dowling[a] purchased the Carlyle and began to transform it from a "respectable" address to a "downright fashionable" one, frequented by elegant Europeans.[9] That year, Harry S. Truman became the first president to visit the Carlyle; each of his successors through Bill Clinton followed.[10]

Rise to prominence[edit]

The Carlyle became known as "the New York White House" during the administration of President John F. Kennedy, who maintained an apartment on the 34th floor for the last ten years of his life.[11] He stayed at the apartment in a well-publicized visit for a few days just prior to his inauguration in January 1961.[12] Marilyn Monroe was snuck in through the service entrance on East 77th Street.[11] 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.[13][14] The New York Post reported a Mob smear campaign plot on Robert F. 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'".[14] Years later, longtime bellman Michael O'Connell recalled, "Those tunnels. President Kennedy knew more about the tunnels than I did".[11][15]

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.[10]

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 Grass Roots". He described the hotel (rather than just one suite) as being owned by the Kennedy family.[16]

In 1967, the hotel was purchased by a partnership of Jerome L. Greene, Norman L. Peck, and Peter Jay Sharp.[17] The hotel is the source of the name for The Carlyle Group, as it was the location where that firm's founders first met in the mid-1980s.[18]

Despite its brushes with history, the hotel retained a reputation for discretion. In June 2000, The New York Times called it a "Palace of Secrets".[10] The hotel was the subject of a 2018 documentary film by writer-director Matthew Miele, Always at The Carlyle.[19][20][21]

Entertainment and dining[edit]

The hotel's Café Carlyle has featured a number of well-known jazz performers – notably George Feyer from 1955 to 1968, and Bobby Short from 1968 to 2004. Woody Allen and his jazz band have played weekly at the café since 1996. According to New York Times writer Joe Heller, Mick Jagger maintains a residence at the Carlyle to use when he visits New York.[22] Alan Cumming gave a series of concerts at the Café Carlyle in June 2015;[23] the album of the performance, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs features a photograph of a nude Cumming flanked by a male and a female model, also nude, shot in the doorway of the cafe.[24]

The Café Carlyle is noted for the murals by Marcel Vertès, which were cleaned in the summer of 2007 as part of a renovation and redecoration of the café.[25] 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.[26]

Bemelmans Bar is decorated with murals depicting Madeline in Central Park painted by Ludwig Bemelmans. Bemelmans is the namesake of the bar, and his murals 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 himself and his family.[27] The 2015 film A Very Murray Christmas was set in the Carlyle and in Bemelmans Bar.[28]

The Carlyle Restaurant was known as "Dumonet at the Carlyle" until 2005, named after its chef Jean-Louis Dumonet from 2001 until 2005.[29][30]


  1. ^ Some sources call Dowling "Downing".


  1. ^ "The Carlyle". Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Owner of 17 Luxury Hotels Buys Carlyle for $130 Million" by Glenn Collins, The New York Times, January 4, 2001
  3. ^ "About – Our Story". The Carlyle. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  4. ^ Brenner, Marie (December 19, 1983). "Grand Hotel: the Inside Story of the Carlyle". New York. pp. 30–43.
  5. ^ a b Foulkes, Wyatt & Levy 2007, p. 50
  6. ^ Foulkes, Wyatt & Levy 2007, p. 25.
  7. ^ Foulkes, Wyatt & Levy 2007, p. 30.
  8. ^ Foulkes, Wyatt & Levy 2007, p. 57.
  9. ^ Foulkes, Wyatt & Levy 2007, pp. 69–71.
  10. ^ a b c Collins, Glenn (June 23, 2000). "Palace of Secrets Receives Suitors, Quite Discreetly; Carlyle Hotel Regulars Hope Sale Will Not Bring Changes". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c "JFK's love affair with NYC" by Jeane MacIntosh, New York Post, November 18, 2013
  12. ^ Photo of John F. Kennedy and Robert McNamara, January 4, 1961, at The Carlyle Hote
  13. ^ Summers, Anthony (2013). Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe. Hachette UK. p. 131. ISBN 9781780227078.
  14. ^ a b Soltis, Andy (June 15, 2010). "Kennedy orgies in romper room". New York Post. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  15. ^ Foulkes, Wyatt & Levy 2007, p. 83.
  16. ^ Malcolm X (November 10, 1963). "Message to the Grassroots". Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  17. ^ Collins, Glenn (January 4, 2001). "Owner of 17 Luxury Hotels Buys Carlyle for $130 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  18. ^ Vise, David A. (October 5, 1987). "Area Merchant Banking Firm Formed". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  19. ^ Travers, Peter (May 10, 2018). "Always at the Carlyle Review: From NYC Hotel to Sophisticated Hot Spot". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  20. ^ "Always At The Carlyle: From secret tunnels to Jackie Kennedy's favorite meal, 5 best moments from the film" by Priyam Chhetri, November 16, 2018,
  21. ^ Always at The Carlyle at IMDb
  22. ^ Heller, Joe (December 3, 2010). "Mick Without Moss". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  23. ^ "Alan Cumming gets personal and 'sappy' in his debut show at Cafe Carlyle" by Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News, June 3, 2015
  24. ^ "Alan Cumming Bares All For His Sappy Songs Album Cover" by Curtis M. Wong, The Huffington Post, January 16, 2016
  25. ^ Hague, Lesley; Ballen, Sian (December 14, 2007). "Scott Salvator". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  26. ^ Ryzik, Melena (September 18, 2007). "Wiping the Stains Off a Bit of Old New York Glamour". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  27. ^ "Bemelmans Bar". Rosewood Hotels and Resorts. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  28. ^ "Bill Murray's Little Christmas Miracle" by Ian Crouch, The New Yorker, December 4, 2015
  29. ^ "Restaurants; Haute Meets Bistro With Bobby Short Nearby" by William Grimes, The New York Times, July 23, 2003
  30. ^ "The Carlyle",


External links[edit]