Friday, December 09, 2005

New Yorker Hotel Sign

Last night the New Yorker Hotel sign was relit for the first time since the 1960s. The hotel had a party and, in addition to hotel workers and other guests, invited some decedents of the hotel's historic luminaries to watch the relighting via closed circuit camera. Using an original elevator control handle that was still in use as late as 1994, the general manager of the hotel, Kevin Smith, pulled the lever and after a pregnant pause, the red letters were alight. The sign refurbishment is part of a major renovation. It was built in 1929 and -- despite opening shortly after the stock market crash -- became one of the hottest spots in New York City. But the hotel declined and finally closed in the 1970s. It was partially reopened in 1994 and has been operating as a modest mixed-use commercial and hotel building, a far cry from its glory days of yore. Photo courtesy of Joe Kinney, the hotel's fascilities manager and keeper of all things Hotel New Yorker. For a Times article about the renovation, click here.

Another shot from Mr. Kinney: