99 Years!

99 years ago, the Hotel Pennsylvania made history, by opening it’s then regal doors to the public.  Since then it’s made history several times over.  Below are two pieces of original artwork from Yoichiro Yoda, a gentleman, who I have the pleasure of sitting down with, and discussing the Hotel, its rich history, and its possible fate.   The Hotel Penn has always been a love of Yoichiro’s and inspired him to do paint portraits of it, on more than one occasion.

 

Yoda “Moonlight Serenade”

 

Yoichiro Yoda “ Basement Bathroom

Want to know more about Yoichiro?  Here is a little history of him taken from an interview from Yale University’s Radio WYBCX.

“Yoichiro Yoda was born in Kagawa, Japan in 1972. When he was 3 months old, he came to New York City where he has lived ever since. Yoichiro’s paintings are based on silent films, film noir, lost memories, and New York City history. Yoichiro received a Bachelors in Fine Arts degree from Tyler School of Art in 1995, and received his Masters in Fine Arts degree from Queens College in 1998.

Yoichiro prefers to use film sets from various films, real interiors of old 42nd Street theatres, spliced together with different time periods to create a reinterpreted version of history, as if to reclaim what we have once lost.

Growing up in New York City, Yoichiro has witnessed and documented the horrific demolition of historic theatres and old time businesses on 42nd Street. He has created in addition to his paintings, documentary films, “Last Days of 42nd Street”, “Last Days of Hotel Pennsylvania”, and “Last Days of Coney Island”.

In his paintings, Yoichiro feels it is important to make the backgrounds look as fake as possible, to get away from the normal everyday reality (which has become more phony and “set like’ during the last 20 years.

Yoichiro also has a number of “series” paintings, where he uses a single film, such as “The Shining” and “The Great Gatsby”. In these series paintings, Yoichiro has altered the backgrounds of the existing sets in the film and replaced them with sites that often appear in his paintings, like Hotel Pennsylvania, and Lynnewood Hall, an old decaying mansion of the Gilded Age near Tyler School of Art.

Most recently, Yoichiro was accepted to participate in the 2016 Setouchi Triennale, an arts festival in Kagawa Prefecture, Kagawa Japan, which began in 2010 as a way to revitalize, restore and bring back to life the islands of the Seto Inland Sea with art. Yoichiro’s project is to create a movie theatre based on several 42nd Street theatres (that no longer exist today) on Megi Jima, or Megi Island. He plans to paint the interiors with the names of all the historic theatres and businesses that were lost on 42nd Street on the theatre’s walls, then hang many 24” x 20” portrait paintings of various film stars, including Charlie Chaplin, Robert Ryan, Clara Bow, and Carey Mulligan. He also plans to screen “Last Days of 42nd Street”.”

City landmarks second-oldest religious building in the city — Old St. James Episcopal Church in Elmhurst

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Records

A 282-year-old church in Elmhurst is officially a city landmark after the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unanimously voted to give it that designation today.

Old St. James Episcopal Church, located at 86-02 Broadway, was built in 1735 by the Church of England for the Anglican community. It was built in what was then called Newtown Village, which was established by the English in 1652 and was one of the first five towns established in Queens.

“The Commission is proud to designate this historic church, significant for its association with the early colonial settlement of Queens and with the beginnings of the Protestant Episcopal Church in New York,” said LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan. “As the second-oldest church building in the city, pre-dating St. Paul’s Chapel in Manhattan, it is a site well-deserving of the protection landmark status provides.”

The structure includes 18th- and 19th-century design features and materials and is an “architecturally significant example of the colonial meetinghouse,” according to the LPC. It also includes 19th-century Gothic Revival and Stick style details.

British soldiers used the church during the Revolutionary War but ultimately spared the building. The church’s parish became one of the earliest members of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

The structure went through several renovations throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The first iteration was a rectangular building with shingles, round-arch windows and a tower facing the graveyard, which is now a parking lot.

In 1848, the congregation built a larger church one block away and the original building became a parish hall and chapel. The building’s style was updated in 1883 with Gothic Revival and Stick Style decorative details and the parish constructed a small rear addition where the original tower was previously located.

In the 20th century, the hall became a community meeting place. The building was mostly restored to its 1883 appearance in 2004 with the help of a $150,000 grant from the Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program.

The restoration cost $430,000 in total and the improvements included a new roof, the restoration of the cedar siding, wood windows and reconstructing the decorative bracketing along the exterior.

“I have been a proud supporter of efforts to designate the Old St. James Episcopal Church as a New York City Individual Landmark and I’m thrilled that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has voted to do so,” said U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng, who wrote a letter to the LPC to advocate for landmark status. “Although this historic church is already on the National Register of Historic Places, the designation as an individual New York City Landmark will allow for further preservation of this structure, and greater awareness of the early history of our great city. It will also ensure that future generations are able to share in the story and history of this wonderful facility.”

Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank & 15 Penn Plaza

Once agin, 15PP has reared its ugly head. This time in the form of Morgan Stanley, and Deutsche Bank. Multiple papers are reporting that the two financial giants are in talks with Vornado to move to the site of the Hotel Pennsylvania.  As you know back in 2007 Merrill Lynch was close to signing with Vornado, before the stock market crash.  No further details are known about  the possible deal yet, we are investigating, and will of course let everyone know via our Facebook, Twitter, and websites.

One interesting notes on this is Vornado just took a loan from Deutsche Bank to the tune of $396M for the mortgage on 85 10th Avenue.  

Pennsylvania Station

Thanks to Bruce Price‎ and Joe Lasala, for posting these images of the Original Pennsylvania Station. I never knew they had such a grand restaurant.

Architectural layout of the Pennsylvania Station showing the location of the restaurant.

And a sad site during the demolition of Pennsylvania Station.

February 1950

A receipt from the Hotel Statler from February 1950, courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. Thomas J Hickey from Richmond Hill, NY.   They stayed there on their wedding night.  I’m happy to report both are still around today, and are in their 90’s.

Vornado Realty Trust’s Q4 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

Not much news in the way of the Hotel Penn’s fate.  As you know, from the “Moving Madison Square Garden” meeting we posted, Vornado has a lot in store for that area.  Seems right now they are focusing more on the “Moynahan Station” project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020 then anything else.  Below is the link to the transcripts.

VNO 4th Quarter Transcripts