Monochromes: Revisit the Jazzy Cocktail Lounge of a Depression-Era Hotel


Friday, January 23, 2015, by Jenny Xie

Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the internet’;s photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we’;d love to hear from you.

Located in Manhattan’;s prestigious Upper East Side neighborhood, the 32-story brown-brick tower at 502 Park Avenue has lived a colorful life. Built in 1929, the building’;s name changed from the original Viceroy Hotel, to Cromwell Arms, and then to Hotel Delmonico, all before quickly tumbling into bankruptcy amidst the Great Depression and getting sold off in an auction in the 1930s. These photos of its snazzy cocktail lounge, with all of its wavy bar walls and wild cushioned booths, were taken in 1949, about 25 years before it would be turned into an 193-unit apartment building. The switcheroos would continue. In 1990, the building was converted back into a hotel, only to be sold a decade later to megadeveloper Donald Trump, who would bring it to its current state: a luxury residential tower with 120 condos and 8 penthouses (the crown jewel of which is having serious trouble selling).


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