Hotel St. Moritz
|Hotel St. Moritz|
The former Hotel St. Moritz building, today Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, seen in 2010
|Location||50 Central Park South, New York City|
|Opening||1930, 2002 (remodeled)|
|Management||Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company|
|Design and construction|
|Number of rooms||259|
The Hotel St. Moritz was a luxury hotel located at 50 Central Park South, on the east side of Sixth Avenue, in New York City. The structure was extensively rebuilt from 1999-2002 and today is a combination hotel/condominium known as The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park.
The Hotel St. Moritz was built on the site of the old New York Athletic Club. It was designed and built in 1930 by the Hungarian-born architect Emery Roth, and constructed by the Harper Organization, representing Harris Uris and Percy Uris. The estimated cost was about $6,000,000.
In 1932 the Bowery Savings Bank took over the hotel and then sold it to the Engadine Corporation, led by the Greek-American hotel magnate S. Gregory Taylor (1888–1948). In 1950 the hotel was completely redecorated and redesigned, and from the following year it housed the Café de la Paix, said to be the first sidewalk restaurant in New York City.
In 1985, Donald Trump purchased the 775-room hotel from its then owner, Harry Helmsley, for $72 million. Trump sold the hotel just three years later, in 1988, for $180 million to Australian billionaire Alan Bond  Bond had to surrender the property to his lender, F.A.I. Insurance, in 1989, when he was unable to repay their loan. In 1990 the hotel became operated by the Interstate Hotels Corporation from Pittsburgh.
In January 1997, Donald Trump announced an agreement with the hotel's owners, F.A.I. Insurance, to gut the building, which was not a designated landmark and could therefore be altered in any way the owners liked, and convert it to a condominium, with the facade covered in glass. The hotel closed on April 20, 1998 However, before any work on the Trump project began, the hotel was sold again just over a week later on April 29, 1998 to hotelier Ian Schrager for $185 million. He reopened the hotel, without any remodeling, as part of his boutique hotel empire. He eventually announced plans for his own renovation of the hotel, but then the hotel was sold again, on November 6, 1999, to a development group which partnered with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to gut and remodel the structure as a combination hotel/condominium. The structure was then completely remodeled as The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, with the lower portion remaining a hotel and the top twelve floors converted to eleven enormous condominiums. It reopened in April 2002.
Architecture and design
The building has a height of 365 feet and has 36 floors. When it operated as the St. Moritz, it had 1,000 rooms that were serviced by six elevators. Close to 400 windows are at Central Park South directly facing the park, in addition to over 300 more windows on 6th Avenue with a partial view of the park. The facade was clad in brown sandstone, with the various towers of the building rising high above the park. In his review from 1931, W. Parker Chase described the hotel as "a picturesque cliff, amidst towering trees to the north, and other soaring skyscrapers to the south."
The aim was to design a cosmopolitan home combining Continental hospitality with American comforts and service. The spacious lobby was luxuriously furnished. On a wall in the lobby, which was of Levanto marble, hung a large painting of the city of St. Moritz by Giovanni Giacometti, a gift to the hotel from the Swiss Alps resort for which it was named. The mayor of St. Moritz, Carl Nater, presented the painting. The various guest rooms, suites, especially the pent house suites with cooling parks breezes and sumptuous furnishings were designed to impress the guests. Both rooms and suites could be rented unfurnished by those wishing to use their own belongings.
The original blueprints of the hotel by Roth are located in the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.
The hotel had a number of restaurants and cafes. One of them was the Paris-based Austrian caterer Rumpelmayer, who was also Purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Court in Vienna (k.u.k. Hoflieferant), offering lunch and dinners in the tea room, grill and roof garden, where the St. Moritz orchestra entertained with both classic and syncopated music. The cafe was on the side of 59th street, offering views of Central Park. Popular treats at Rumpelmayer's were the coffee and ice creams. The rooms of Rumpelmayer's were designed by the German-born architect Winold Reiss in the art deco style.
In popular culture
In several episodes of I Love Lucy, the Hotel St. Moritz can be seen out of the Ricardos' bedroom window.
During the sixth season of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, George and Gracie (along with their neighbors Harry and Blanche Morton and announcer Harry von Zell) stay at the St. Moritz. The Burns stay in Suite 2216.
The building appeared in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV. It was also used in a mission of the game.
- Allen J. Share (1995). "St. Moritz Hotel". In Kenneth T. Jackson. The Encyclopedia of New York City. Yale University. p. 1036. ISBN 0-300-05536-6.
- Chase, W. Parker (1931). New York: The Wonder City. New York City: Wonder City Publishing.
- Patricia and Edward Shillingburg, ed. (2006), S. Gregory Taylor: 1888 - 1948. A Greek Patriot and Hotel Magnate, Shelter Island Reporter, retrieved October 29, 2010
- The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, 2010, retrieved October 29, 2010
- Rutenbaum, Steven (1986). Mansions in the Clouds: The Skyscraper Palazzi of Emery Roth. New York City: Balsam. pp. 151–156. ISBN 0-917439-09-0.
- Winold Reiss 1886-1953. Centennial Exhibition. Works on paper: Architectural Designs, Fantasies and Portraits. 21 East 84th Street, New York, NY 10028: Shepherd Gallery, Associates. January 3, 1987.
- The interior architecture was also described in Restaurateur & the American Hotelier in its December 30, 1930 issue.
- Burnett, Carol (2010). This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection. Harmony Books. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-307-46118-6.
Media related to Hotel St. Moritz at Wikimedia Commons
- official website of the Ritz-Carlton Central Park
- Voigt, Henry (May 16, 2010). "Bavarian Strawberry Pudding. Rumpelmayer's New York City, 1935".