< UNITED STATES | NEW YORK CITY: The Knickerbocker
Built by John Jacob Astor IV, a rich and powerful American financier, The Knickerbocker opened its doors on October 23, 1906. In the earliest years of the 20th century, the Knick
played host to the world’s biggest names in entertainment, politics, culture and high society. Iconic Beaux-Arts design, glamorous European luxury, and welcoming American hospitality, made it “the”
place to be for glitterati and dignitaries, while its legendary barroom became known as “The 42nd Street Country Club.” The interior was famous for Maxfield Parrish’s painting Old King Cole, which hung
behind the bar, along with artistic contributions from Frederic Remington, Frederick MacMonnies and James Wall Finn.
On Armistice Day in 1918, famed tenor Enrico Caruso sang the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ to crowds below from the balcony of his sprawling suite where he lived, while another famous resident, F. Scott Fitzerald set a chapter of “This Side of Paradise” novel in the hotel bar. One of the Knickerbocker’s most fabled legends is that the martini was invented in its ornate barroom. British writer John Doxat interviewed a guest who visited the Knickerbocker bar in 1912 and was served an unfamiliar cocktail by the bartender, “a shadowy figure” supposedly named Martini di Arma di Taggia.
Though open for just fourteen brief years, The Knickerbocker was one of three entities—along with the New York Times and the subway (the hotel even had its own stop on the C line; while no longer functional, the hotel nameplate is still there) — whose arrival at the crossroads of 42nd Street and Broadway transformed sleepy Times Square into New York City’s biggest tourist destination. The onset of Prohibition marked the beginning of the end for the hotel renowned for its lavish parties and nightlife, and in 1920 the property was converted into offices. Between 1940 and 1959 The Knickerbocker building was the home of Newsweek Magazine.
A true New York City icon, even the hotel’s name is steeped in history. In the early 1800s, a “Knickerbocker” was a common synonym for upper-crust, Dutch-descended New Yorkers, eventually becoming a nickname for all New Yorkers. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and designated a New York City Landmark in 1988.
Under its original name, The Knickerbocker Hotel reopened on February 12, 2015, as a modern urban sanctuary in the heart of a fascinating city. The stunning transformation led by acclaimed architectural design firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates invites discerning travelers to discover 330 guestrooms and suites boasting incredible views and bespoke furnishings.
An air of posh authenticity embraces New York City’s premier luxury lifestyle hotel with cuisine by Charlie Palmer, style by Ted Gibson, and a robust fitness program curated for today’s modern traveler. Crowning The Knickerbocker’s legendary Times Square location is St. Cloud, the city’s most spectacular rooftop bar offering unrivaled views and setting new standards of style and sophistication for all Midtown Manhattan hotels.
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