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Carlyle Hotel: A Living Legend that Embodies the Spirit of New York

Carlyle Hotel: A Living Legend that Embodies the Spirit of New York

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Carlyle Hotel: A Living Legend that Embodies the Spirit of New York

The Carlyle Hotel was built by Moses Ginsberg and designed
in Art Deco style by architects Sylvan Bien (1893-1959) and Harry M. Prince.
Bien and Prince both had previously worked at the famous architectural firm of
Warren & Wetmore. Since opening in 1930, The Carlyle has become a living
legend that embodies the spirit of New York: elegant, sparkling, worldly and

However, by the time the Carlyle was ready to open its
doors, the 1929 stock market crash ended the boom times. The new hotel went
into receivership in 1931 and was sold to the Lyleson Corporation in 1932. The
new owners kept the original management which was able to improve occupancy and
to stabilize the Carlyles’ financial situation. In 1948, New York businessman
Robert Whittle Dowling purchased the Carlyle and began to transform it into the
most fashionable hotel in Manhattan. It became known as the “New York White
House” during President John F. Kennedy’s administration who maintained an
apartment on the 34th floor for the last ten years of his life. He occupied the
apartment in a well-publicized visit for a few days before his inauguration in
January 1961.

For almost nine decades, The Carlyle on the elegant upper East Side of New York City has pampered rich and famous guests from around the world with its timeless luxury, savvy discretion, attention to detail, smooth service and personalized touches. This swanky iconic hotspot, a Rosewood Hotels property, was celebrated in a cool new feature-length documentary film, Always at The Carlyle in 2018. The movie embraces more than 100 personalities, who share their colorful Carlyle stories. Among the celebrities spotlighted are George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Anthony Bourdain, Tommy Lee Jones, Roger Federer, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Jon Hamm, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell, Herb Albert, Condoleezza Rice, Jeff Goldblum, Paul Shaffer, Vera Wang, Alexa Ray Joel, Graydon Carter, Bill Murray, Nina Garcia, Isaac Mizrahi, Buster Poindexter, Rita Wilson and Elaine Stritch. Yet some of the most gracious and insightful sound-bites are voiced by staff, many of whom have worked at The Carlyle for decades, such as the concierge Dwight Owsley. These well-trained employees personify what The Carlyle does best.

The Café Carlyle is noted for the murals by Marcel Vertès,
which were cleaned in the summer of 2007 as part of a renovation and
redecoration of the café. Interior designer Scott Salvator oversaw the
renovation and redecoration, the first significant alterations to the café
since its debut in 1955. During the renovations, the café closed for three
months and was widely praised after reopening in September 2007. Salvator removed
the dropped acoustical ceiling, exposing two feet of newly found space which
allowed for a modern sound and a lighting system to appeal to a younger

The Bemelmans Bar is decorated with murals depicting
Madeline in Central Park painted by Ludwig Bemelmans. Bemelmans is the namesake
of the bar, and his murals there are his only artwork on display to the public.
Instead of accepting payment for his work, Bemelmans received a year and a half
of accommodations at the Carlyle for himself and his family.

Both the hotel’s Café Carlyle and Bemelmans Bar are musical
havens featuring outstanding performers. For decades dapper Bobby Short played
piano and with his distinctive voice exemplified café society sophistication.
More recently, the Café Carlyle has featured Rita Wilson, Alan Cummings, Linda
Lavin, Gina Gershon, Kathleen Turner and Jeff Goldblum.

It is interesting that the Carlyle has survived in splendid
isolation that has heightened its visibility in comparison with most of these
other pioneering residential towers. Much of the credit for that must go to
Peter Sharp, the late developer who bought the hotel and also owned the
low-rise building that fills the avenue blockfront across the street. That
building was for many years the headquarters of Parke-Bernet, the auction house
that was subsequently acquired by Sotherby’s which relocated it to a
warehouse-like building on 72nd Street and York Avenue. After World War II,
Parke- Bernet was the center of the art world and largely responsible for many
art galleries moving uptown around Madison Avenue from 57th Street. Sharp could
have erected a very major new tower on the site after the auction house was
moved, but he chose to not develop it and to protect the sweeping Central Park
views for the Carlyle. The low-rise building now contains several important art
galleries and some offices of the real estate division of Sotheby’s as well as
some high-end boutiques.

The Carlyle has consistently been recognized as one of the
top hotels by the world’s leading publications, travel magazines and consumer

•             Travel
& Leisure Top 15 Hotels in New York City 2019

•             Condè
Nast Traveler the Best Hotels and Resorts in the World: The 2019 Gold List

•             Forbes
Travel Guide Four-Star Award 2019

•             S. News
Best USA Hotels 2019

•             S. New
Best New York Hotels 2019

•             S. News
Best New York City Hotels 2019

•             Harper’s
Bazaar The 30 Best Hotels in New York City

author, Stanley Turkel, is a recognized authority and consultant in the hotel industry.
He operates his hotel, hospitality and consulting practice specializing in
asset management, operational audits and the effectiveness of hotel franchising
agreements and litigation support assignments. Clients are hotel owners,
investors, and lending institutions.

American Hotel Architects”

My eighth hotel history book features twelve architects who designed 94 hotels from 1878 to 1948: Warren & Wetmore, Schultze & Weaver, Julia Morgan, Emery Roth, McKim, Mead & White, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Carrere & Hastings, Mulliken & Moeller, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, Trowbridge & Livingston, George B. Post and Sons.

Published Books:

Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009)
Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011)
Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013)
Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf (2014)
Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016)
Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017)

Hotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018)

All of these books can also be ordered from AuthorHouse, by visiting and by clicking on the book’s title. 

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Source: eTurboNews Syndication