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Founded in 2006, The Hotel Pennsylvania Preservation Society is a not-for-profit organization founded with the goal of preserving New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania, as well as other NYC buildings worthy of preservation.

Hotel Pennsylvania opened on January 25th, 1919. Designed by the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the hotel owned by The Pennsylvania Railroad and operated by The Hotels Statler Company.  At the time of its opening it was the largest hotel in the world, boasting 2,200 rooms – a title it held for nearly a decade.  Throughout the years it’s walls were graced by the likes of William Faulkner, Herbert Hoover, Charlie Chaplin and, of course, Glenn Miller who would immortalize the hotel’s phone number in his hit song “Pennsylvania 6-5000″.

Unfortunately for Hotel Pennsylvania, the grand old days of extravagant hotels ended and the streets of Manhattan began to decline significantly. In an attempt at saving the hotel and making it more profitable, Elie Hirschfeld conducted an extreme renovation, seemingly stripping every original detail from interior in the mid 1980s. Ceilings were lowered, public spaces gutted and modernized and the room count was reduced to 1,700.  What may have been done with good intentions would nearly lead to the demolition of Hotel Pennsylvania.

Hirschfeld sold the newly renovated Hotel Pennsylvania – a shell of its former grandeur.  It was eventually purchased by Vornado Realty Trust who saw the building as nothing but a cash cow until they could secure plans to demolish it and build and office tower nearly as tall as the Empire State Building in its place. Despite preservationists woes, the hotel was denied landmark status due to the extensive renovations done to the interior.

Hotel Pennsylvania sits in a current state of limbo.  The economy is too poor for Vornado to proceed with the planned skyscraper.  Recently, they announced they would spare the hotel and renovate it instead of demolishing it.  As of now, renovations have not started, and the hotels demolitions still looms over its head.

The Hotel Pennsylvania Preservation Society’s goal is to have Hotel Pennsylvania restored to its original grandeur and to preserve NYC’s forgotten treasures.  Follow us on our journey to bring back Midtown’s Grand Dame

6 thoughts on “Home

  1. RD WOlff

    Pretty outrageous what was done to this MM&W building, starting with the 1980s butchering of the interior and then the city planning commission voting to let it be demolished and replaced with yet another shiny glass box.
    Makes you wonder who is getting kickbacks to approve or vote for such stupidity.
    “the hotel is old” OLD?? there’s buildings in daily use in Europe that are 500 years old! only in this country do we build massive ornate buildings that could last 500 years and demolish them in 20 or 30 years as has happened more often than not.

    Reply
    1. Gregory Jones

      We agree with you. There are places all over Canada and even parts on NYC that are as old if not older that are still in use today, but because of who owns this, is where the misfortune happens.

      Reply
  2. Stephen

    I have been following your blog for a while and noticed this new site. Is this the new site or an old site and the other site I should be using?

    Reply
    1. Gregory Jones

      Stephen,

      You can follow us on both! We have been using the blog for years just because it was quick and easy, now that we are expanding we are going to maintain this site and the blog for breaking news, and updates. Thanks for visiting.

      Reply
  3. howard graves

    I am 66 yrs old and I am in possession of a sliver plate serving tray that my father used when he was a bell hop at this Hotel. I will send pictures to anyone that can aid me in getting more history regarding the tray itself (years used, approximate age). I am terminally ill and would love to hand it down to my grandaughter along with as much of its history as i possibly can.
    Thank you in advance

    Howard Graves

    Reply

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