New York City – Historic Hotel Pennsylvania

 

 

 

Penn Station, New York City
Penn Station, New York By Cervin Robinson – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division

 

 

I took a two week holiday to Spain and Morocco, exiting JFK.  Looking to extend my trip, I decided that four days in New York City wouldn’t be a bad idea.  Looking for a hotel proved daunting.  Expensive, as expected, but hotels are starting to add an “urban fee”, which is the equivalent of the “resort fee” in Las Vegas.  Charging you for something that used to be included.

I selected the Hotel Pennsylvania for a number of reasons.  The location is hard to beat, the price was reasonable (the highest night was $150.00), and I like places that have history.  It is located directly across from the former Penn Station.

Exterior of the Hotel Pennsylvania the evening of my arrival in NYC.
The exterior of the Hotel Pennsylvania the evening of my arrival in NYC.

It isn’t much to look at from street level, just some columns and an expanse of doors.  Lots of people and traffic, mostly because Madison Square Garden is across the street.

Hallway, Hotel Pennsylvania
Hallway, Hotel Pennsylvania

Here’s an unused hallway on the ground floor.  An unused bank of telephones on the wall, some elegant lighting, leading to the doors for the restaurant and lounge, which is long closed.

Brass mailbox
Brass Mailbox

Many buildings dating from the early 1900s have their own internal mail system, and the Hotel Pennsylvania is no different.  Although not in use, it remains polished and a reminder of the past.

Entrance from West 33rd Street - access to ballrooms
Entrance from West 33rd Street – access to ballrooms

This, I believe was the access to the ballrooms on the upper level.  Possibly the counter in the background was used for the coat check.  Once again, everything remains clean and polished and a tribute to the past.

Entrance to the Penn 5000 Lounge.
Entrance to the Penn 5000 Lounge.

Lastly, the Penn 5000 Lounge, also located on the ground floor, and long out of use.

 

Background

The Hotel Pennsylvania was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad and opened in 1919, and at one point was called the Hotel Statler.  It was also a Hilton, and the Hotel Penta, before returning to Hotel Pennsylvania in 1991.

Massive renovations took place in the 1980s, effectively covering over many of the historic aspects.

There was a threat of demolition during the 1990s, but as of this writing, the hotel is having massive renovations to its rooms, which are advertised as Penn 5000.

 

Pennsylvania 6-5000

The hotel’s phone number (212-735-5000) is original, and in the longest continuous use in NYC.  Celebrated in the song of the above name by Jerry Gray and Carl Sigman, performed by Glenn Miller, who would perform in the Café Rouge in the 1940s.

 

 

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