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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Plaza Hotel: 1912

Plaza Hotel: 1912

New York circa 1912. "Plaza Hotel, Fifth Avenue at 59th Street." The original "big box." 5x7 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Pre "Health and Safety"

Well spotted ProMagnon, but I'm fairly sure he's cleaning the window. His belt might be fixed to an anchor point inside, but somehow I doubt it.

Stepping out?

Looks like someone is stepping out backwards. Left corner turret, top floor. Hope I'm wrong.

[Looks like you're right. Eek. - tterrace]

John, Paul, George, and Ringo

The Beatles camped out at the Plaza during their first collective visit to America in February 1964. George was laid up in the room with a bad cold on Feb. 8, whilst the other lads went larking about Central Park. By the evening of Sunday the 9th, George recuperated well enough to take the stage with the others on the Ed Sullivan Show. The rest you already know.

Main Entrance

These days the main entrance is on the Fifth Avenue side, through the porch with the six white columns. There is still a door facing Central Park South, where the big marquee is in this pic, but I don't think it even has a taxi rank anymore. I guess it keeps the traffic flowing better.

Glorious Building

Here's to another 100 years, plus! What changes will it see by then.

Unattractive?

I think it shows a magnificence that no longer is ever built.

Eloise

Any mention of the Plaza Hotel to a native New Yorker immediately conjurs up remembrances of it's most famous "guest" Eloise, even though she never actually stayed there.

Before the hotel became condos, they held an auction at which almost every item from the original hotel (from furniture to doorknobs) were sold at unbelievable prices. Eloise kind of disappeared during the renovations, but just made her grand re-entrance.

Welcome Home, Eloise !

Big Box Indeed

Remarkably large and unattractive. Wonder if the filigree on top prompted the first usage of "lipstick on a pig?"

High End Digs

The Plaza Hotel, built in 1907, is now a condominium as well. There are listings for 3 bedroom apartments, 2 are available, one at $11,995,000 and the other $14,750,000. If a 3 bedroom won't work for you there are 2 4BR units offered for $25,000,000 and $55,000,000, respectively The prices are negotiable and pets are allowed.

Sic Transit

And now it's partly condos, and not an awning to be seen ... better than ending up like Penn Station, however.

Well, the awnings have gone -

- and there are fewer horses.


View Larger Map

What is it about Shorpy photos?

The sheer size, massiveness and height of this amazing building is eye-popping. What IS it about so many DPC photos, which seem much more grand, especially compared to the street maps we compare with today? Those DPC photogs had an amazing eye for their work.

Yes, it's just a big block-long-and-wide square, but the architects at least topped it off in an interesting way, giving it an incredible grandeur.

I'd pay a tidy sum for a chance to put up the flags up there any morning, or to look out over NYC from one of those turrets.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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