November 2017
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Preserving The Plaza

plaza hotel garter toss

Mayor Bloomberg deserves congratulations for investing his personal influence and the prestige of City Hall in brokering a deal to preserve the Plaza Hotel. As of mid-April, the owners of the Plaza say they have agreed to preserve some of its famed interior public rooms.

The nearly century-old hotel’s exterior is an official city landmark, and now some of these treasured rooms — the two lobbies, Oak Room and Bar, Palm Court, Edwardian Room, and Grand Ballroom and Terrace — seem set for designation too. They all should be, and, just as importantly, they should be preserved in their historic form, not as shops.

In their current use, the public rooms in the hotel are what make the Plaza a world-renowned institution — and an icon of New York. Even as interior landmarks, they still face the threat of conversion.

In fact, the owners have asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to approve, under Section 74-711 of the city’s Zoning Resolution, just that change. They claim that doing so contributes to a “preservation purpose.” But allowing the Plaza’s interiors to be converted to retail use would truly be a loss.

When the hotel was designated a landmark in 1969, the commission wrote that it had “a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City.” Conversion of the public rooms would undermine that history.

Our staff is lobbying the commission to reject this maneuver and maintain the Plaza’s historic integrity — for all eight of the grand public rooms. We urge you to join in calling on the commission to designate the Plaza’s interior rooms, but also to reject the 74-711 application for a change in use of those spaces. For more information, please continue to check this space.