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Grand Hotels: 1908

Grand Hotels: 1908

New York circa 1908. "Murray Hill and Belmont Hotels, Park Avenue." The old Grand Central Station in the distance. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

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Will they get up and play it?

Judging by the shape of the cover, I'll bet that teamster is hauling a piano on his wagon, in addition to the two stowaways!

Every respectable household had one --

Note the piano mover, with two rather young assistants.

The critic agreed

A critic for Architectural Record in 1906 agreed with Greg B. about the balconies. I've highlighted next to the comment in his review. At the beginning of the second paragraph, the critic also said the architects, Warren and Wetmore "have made no attempt to solve the skyscraper problem." There was a lot written around this time about the skyscraper problem. I believe the problem was how to make these new, large, flat surfaces on skyscrapers attractive. Minimalism was not yet an option.

Random Balconies

I am always puzzled by what we often see in pictures of tall-for-the-era buildings in this era: seemingly randomly-placed stone or concrete balconies with no obvious location pattern on various floors in various places along the facade. Were they actually functional or merely decoration?

The Finished Product

It's always interesting to see how the Detroit Publishing postcard turned out!

Hey shorty !!

Not in height -- it was purportedly the tallest hotel in the world when it opened -- but rather duration: if you were told one of these hotels would be landfill in about twenty years, I think few would guess it would be the Belmont. Such could be the pace of change in New York (though not always: the Murray Hill both preceded and outlasted it by decades).

The Belmont - and its many, unreasoned balconies - had been well covered in the architectural press.

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