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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Summit: 1961

The Summit: 1961

Sept. 18, 1961. New York. "Summit Hotel, 51st Street and Lexington Avenue. Exterior from northwest. Morris Lapidus, Harle & Liebman, architects." Hints of Cold War intrigue here. Gottscho-Schleisner photo. View full size.

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Loew's Lexington

The imprint of the old Loew's Lexington theater is visible (to the right) up to the sixth floor of what is now the Benjamin Hotel.

Flags are at half mast, why?

the flags here appear to be hung at half mast. Searching the date on wikipedia does not reveal why. Anyone?

[The first comment submitted gives the likely explanation. - tterrace]

Such memories

When I interviewed for my first job in Manhattan (in 1963), for some reason, the company put me here one night. I flew in from Houston and took Carey in, and then somehow got to this place. I was gobsmacked!!!! Such luxury and so au courant! Yes, I took the job!

Also a host to democracy

When I lived nearby in the early 2000s my voting place was in this hotel, in one of the meeting rooms. There were not that many full-time residents in this commercial and hotel district, and many of those who did reside in the area were not U.S. citizens (in large measure because of the proximity of the U.N.), so even though it was right in the middle of bustling midtown Manhattan it was a very lonely polling place.

The hotel staff were largely unaware, and surprised to hear, that there was a polling place in their building. And the poll workers were genuinely happy to have anyone at all come in to vote. There was definitely no wait for a voting machine.

Landmarked in 2005

Out of place

I don't think it's ugly, but it's always seemed strangely out of place in Manhattan. Belongs in the suburbs, maybe. But it's supposed to be a very good hotel.

Shorpy Rule Compliance

The hotel in this photo is in compliance with the Shorpy person-in-window rule. Level to a T.

Ugly Across the Decades

It was ugly then and it's ugly now. I DO like the sign, however.

The Promise of the Future!

Its buildings like this that fueled my desire to become an architect - I'm so glad that it looks very close to the way it did when it was built.

Same sign, lesser impact

The vertical "Summit" sign pictured with such groovy shadows shrieks 1961 all by itself. Somehow, today's "Double Tree" use of the same sign just isn't as cool, or as classic.

Carpe Diem!

I like the way the Beverly Hotel (which I assume is the building next door) hits potential customers in the eye with a BIG WALL AD, trying to lure tourists and visitors away from the Summit with AC, TV, terraced suites etc.

Still groovy, indeed!

And only about half a dozen blocks from Frank Lloyd Wright's Mercedes Benz showroom on Park Avenue, with its Guggenheim-like ramp.

This was my old subway stop (until the magazine moved to Soho) -- some fantastic terrazzo flooring still extant.

Still looks groovy!

UN Secretary-General

Your comments got my attention, so I noticed the flags are at half-mast. I looked up the date and found that September 18, 1961 was the day that U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld died in a plane crash in Africa.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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