Row NYC Hotel
|Row NYC Hotel|
The hotel in 2008 with the neon "M" on top, since removed.
|Location||700 8th Avenue|
New York, New York
|Number of rooms||1,331|
|Number of restaurants||1|
Row NYC Hotel, at 27 stories and 1,331 rooms, was the largest hotel in New York City when it opened on February 13, 1928 as the Hotel Lincoln, one day after the 119th anniversary of the birth of its namesake, Abraham Lincoln. It featured a towering mast on top with neon lettering reading "HOTEL LINCOLN" which was lit on opening day by Governor Al Smith, who pressed a button in Albany to illuminate it. The sign is visible in the 1933 film 42nd Street. It was originally owned by the Kramer family and then by Maria Kramer, a dancer once married to Max Kramer, until the 1950s.
It was purchased by prominent American real estate developer William Zeckendorf in September 1957, remodeled and renamed the Manhattan Hotel. The existing Hotel Lincoln sign was removed and in 1958 a sign was added to replace it—an enormous letter "M," 31 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Zeckendorf ran the Manhattan until 1964, when it was sold to the English and became the Royal Manhattan.
In the 1960s, things started going downhill for the Manhattan. By the late 1970s the hotel was boarded up. In 1978, the Milstein family purchased the hotel and reopened it in 1980. They named it the Milford Plaza Hotel because they did not want to change the huge neon "M" sign on the roof. In 2001, Seymour Milstein prepared to auction off the hotel, fueling a feud with his brother Paul. They eventually settled their differences, keeping the hotel in the family.
On December 12, 2009, 350 employees were laid off, and the hotel was closed to allow renovations to begin. Renovations were expected to be completed by October 2011; however, in February 2010, the Seymour Milstein family decided to suspend its renovation plan indefinitely due to an economic downturn.
Rockpoint Group and hotel operator Highgate Holdings purchased the hotel in 2010 for $200 million and began an extensive $140 million renovation.
The neon "M" atop the building was removed in October 2011.
In February 2013, news broke that the new owners would look to chop the hotel up into three pieces—the land, the 1,331-room hotel and the 26,000-square-foot retail unit—and sell for a combined value of $650 million. In March 2013, Brooklyn investor David Werner, in partnership with Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management’s real-estate investment business, purchased the land parcel for $325 million. Rockpoint Group and Highgate Hotels will continue to operate the hotel.
As part of the renovation, the hotel was briefly renamed The Milford New York Hotel before being renamed in 2014 as Row NYC. Included in the renovation were makeovers of all 1,331 guest rooms and guest suites, renovation of the lobby (including a unique three-story, glass-enclosed lobby design and illuminated grand staircase flanked by see-through guest elevators) and public areas, the International Gift Shop, and District M – a European express cafe by day, a Neapolitan pizza bar and cocktail lounge by night.
In popular culture
The hotel is seen during the musical number "I'm a Brass Band" in the 1969 movie "Sweet Charity". The former "Hotel Manhattan" sign with the giant neon "M" is visible behind Shirley MacLaine, as Charity Valentine, as she dances with the drummers during a scene shot on the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal's rooftop parking lot on the corner of West 42nd Street and 8th Avenue.