Grand Hyatt New York
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|Grand Hyatt New York|
The Grand Hyatt New York (at left); across the street is the Chrysler Building (at right)
|Hotel chain||Hyatt Hotels|
|Location||Manhattan, New York|
|Address||109 East 42nd Street|
|Opening||1919 original, 1980 reconstruction|
|Owner||Hyatt Hotels Corporation|
|Height||295 ft (90 m)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||1919 – Warren & Wetmore 1980 – Gruzen Samton|
|Number of rooms||1306|
The Grand Hyatt New York is a hotel located directly east of the Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It was originally built and opened on January 28, 1919, as The Commodore Hotel. In 1980, Donald Trump completely renovated and modernized the building, as part of his first construction project in Manhattan.
The Commodore Hotel was constructed by the Bowman-Biltmore Hotels group. The structure itself was developed as part of Terminal City, a complex of palatial hotels and offices connected to Grand Central Terminal and all owned by the New York State Realty and Terminal Company (NYSRTC), a division of the New York Central Railroad (NYCRR). The Commodore was named after "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, the founder of NYCRR; a statue of Vanderbilt is located outside the hotel. The Commodore was designed by Warren & Wetmore and leased by the NYSRTC to the Bowman-Biltmore Hotels Corporation, of which John McEntee Bowman was president.
The Commodore opened on January 28, 1919. Herbert R. Stone, of NYSRTC, oversaw the decor of its 2,000 rooms. The lobby, called the "Most Beautiful Lobby in The World," was the single largest room in the hotel, with modern low ceilings and a waterfall designed by John B. Smeraldi. A group of conventioneers once told Bowman that "New York City was like a circus," so the next day Bowman, ever a showman, arranged to place a circus, complete with elephants, in the grand ballroom. Another popular spot was the Century Room, which boasted its own orchestra. The Commodore shared a parking garage with its sister hotel, the New York Biltmore Hotel, which had been Bowman-Biltmore's first hotel investment. Another Terminal City property – The Roosevelt Hotel, originally a United Hotel asset – merged with Bowman-Biltmore Corporation on March 4, 1929, giving Terminal City access to all railroad passenger traffic in and out of New York City.
The Commodore was successful for decades, and in June 1967, NYCRR – which by then was running the hotel through a division called Realty Hotels – upgraded the Commodore with a 3.4 million-dollar refurbishment. On May 10, 1972, while John R. Garside was the hotel's general manager, the Commodore became the first hotel in New York City to show in-room movies through Player Cinema Systems. By the late 1970s, both the railroad line (now called Penn Central) and the hotel had become less successful. On May 11, 1977, the now-bankrupt railroad's asset manager, Victor Palmieri, told the city that the Commodore had lost $1.5 million in 1976 and might have to be shuttered. At that point, the Trump Organization bought the Commodore.
Grand Hyatt New York
The Trump Organization rebuilt the hotel, gutting the first few floors down to their steel frame (although the same basic layout of public rooms was retained) and the entire building was transformed with a new reflective glass facade placed over top of the existing masonry exterior. The work was designed by the firm of Gruzen Samton The only portion of the hotel's decor left untouched was the foyer to the grand ballroom, with its neoclassical columns and plasterwork. The hotel re-opened in 1980 as the Grand Hyatt New York, and has entrances to the Park Avenue Viaduct and to 42nd Street.
The hotel won the 2007 and 2008 Corporate and Incentive Travel magazine "Award of Excellence." It was renovated in 1996 and again in 2011.
- Commodore Hotel - March 1919 Architectural Review article (Google Books).
- Trump, Donald (1987). The art of the Deal. Warner Books.