[Dixielandjazz] Goodbye Pennsylvania 6-5000 Landmark
barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 18 10:31:39 PST 2007
If in NYC, visit the place before they tear it down.
The New York City hotel that inspired the song "Pennsylvania 6-5000" will be
torn down for a 2.5 million-square-foot office tower.
One of McKim, Mead & White's later designs, the 22-story Hotel Pennsylvania
was one of the largest hotels in the world when it opened in 1919 with 2,200
rooms. It was built across the street from the firm's Pennsylvania Station,
which was torn down in 1963 for Madison Square Garden. The Hotel
Pennsylvania's ballroom was a big band hotspot for Duke Ellington, Count
Basie, and Glenn Miller, who made it famous in his 1940 jingle.
Owner Vornado Realty Trust, based in Paramus, N.J., intends to build an
office tower with a trading floor in place of the 1,700-room hotel, which is
not a city landmark.
"It holds a lot of cultural resonance with the city because of all the big
bands that played there, but the inside has been pretty much stripped," says
Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. "I don't think
anyone who has stayed there recently has been overly in love with the place
Whatever tears are going to be shed, they're too late."
Vornado plans to complete its new tower in four years, so the hotel is still
open for business.
Breen says the Hotel Pennsylvania's fate is a good reminder that in
Manhattan's hot real-estate market, almost any site can be redeveloped.
"Places that you wouldn't think of as a potential teardown are becoming just
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