Hotel Claridge

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Hotel Claridge
Hotel Claridge is located in Manhattan
Hotel Claridge
Location within Manhattan
General information
Location1500 Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, USA
(160 West 44th Street)
Coordinates40°45′25″N 73°59′08″W / 40.75694°N 73.98556°W / 40.75694; -73.98556
Opening1911
Closed1972
Technical details
Floor count16
Design and construction
ArchitectD.H. Burnham & Company
The celebrated smoking Camel cigarette billboard in Times Square was designed by Douglas Leigh and mounted on the Hotel Claridge. (Photo, 1948)

The Hotel Claridge was a 16-story building on Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, at the southeast corner of Broadway and 44th Street. Originally known as the Hotel Rector, it was built of brick in the Beaux-arts style in 1910-11. The 14-story building had 240 guest rooms and 216,000 square feet of space.[1] It operated for 61 years until the building was demolished in 1972.

History[edit]

The Hotel Rector was established by George Rector as a complement to his popular restaurant, which had been founded by his father and was frequented by New York's rich and famous, including Diamond Jim Brady and Cornelius Vanderbilt III. The timing of his new venture was unfortunate, because as the hotel was being developed, a popular Broadway play was released, called The Girl from Rector's. The play was considered indecent by many critics and gave the Rector's name an unsavory reputation. Rector held the play responsible when he declared his new hotel bankrupt in May 1913. The new owners wanted a new name to escape the stigma, so the Hotel Rector became the Hotel Claridge in 1913. The new name evoked the exclusive Claridge's of London. Although they were no longer using the old name, the new management refused to allow use of the Rector's brand for another restaurant. Rector successfully sued to regain use of his own name.[2][3][4]

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was founded at the Hotel Claridge on February 13, 1914.

In 1923, the hotel was purchased by real estate investor Benjamin Winter, Sr. for $3,000,000.[5] In May 1964 it was bought by Douglas Leigh Inc. for an unspecified sum. Leigh indicated he would turn the hotel into a commercial building, with stores, a restaurant and exhibit space on the lower floors and showrooms, offices and meeting rooms on the upper floors.[1]

One of the most enduring images of Times Square is the “Camel Man”, who blew cigarette smoke rings around the clock from 1941 to 1966 from a billboard mounted on the Hotel Claridge.[6]

The building was razed in 1972 to make way for a 33-story office tower. The first and second floors are currently occupied by ABC's Times Square Studios, home to the "Good Morning America" television program.

In popular culture[edit]

In the film Midnight Cowboy (1969), Joe Buck (Jon Voight) lodges in the Hotel Claridge at the beginning of his stay in New York City (but he is soon expelled due to failure to pay).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Claridge Hotel in Times Square is Acquired by Douglas Leigh". The New York Times, May 21, 1964. p. 57.
  2. ^ Bloom, Ken (2004). Broadway: Its History, People, and Places. Taylor & Francis. pp. 427–428. ISBN 0-415-93704-3.
  3. ^ "The Poster That Put the Ban on Rector's". The San Francisco Call. 114 (36). July 6, 1913. p. 19.
  4. ^ "Appeal Rector Decision". New York Hotel Record. 12 (8): 4. January 6, 1914.
  5. ^ "$3,000,000 Is Paid for Hotel Claridge; Times Square Property Passes From du Pont Interests to Real Estate Operator". The New York Times. May 24, 1923. p. 12.
  6. ^ McKendry, Joe (2012), One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World, Boston: David R. Godine. Several of the excellent drawings in this lavishly illustrated book include the Hotel Claridge.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°45′25″N 73°59′08″W / 40.75694°N 73.98556°W / 40.75694; -73.98556