Throwback Thursday: When We Roamed Abandoned Floors At The Plaza NYC
Browsing through our photo archive, we come across many hotel memories: some fond, some we wish to forget, and some that stand out for being just that little bit different. One of the latter relates to The Plaza New York, which has had a rather tumultuous decade or so: from its controversial acquisition and disgruntled owners suing the developer over the sight-unseen acquired apartments, to struggles at both the restaurants and the food mall. Then of course there was that whole Charlie Sheen disaster.
Way before all of this went down, we found ourselves inside The Plaza on a sweltering early summer day when its contents pre-renovation were on sale, for anyone who wanted to take a piece of hotel history home. The truly fancy stuff had already gone by auction, so we’re talking everything that was left. And we do mean EVERYTHING: from maids uniforms and iron boards to linens and individual strands of the chandeliers, if it was there, you could buy it.
We were fascinated by the strange experience of walking through the ornate public spaces and the long corridors, all packed with piles of sometimes rather questionable stuff. But it didn’t stop there.
What we saw downstairs was nothing compared to the – it turned out not technically allowed – trip we made to some of the floors. Completely empty, we wandered through partly destroyed park view suites, with door frames ripped apart, crumbling fireplaces, and graffiti-style scribbles on the walls (which we assumed were from the moving company, but added an additional touch of creepy to the experience).
We sat in the windowsill of a park-facing suite with the semi-circular living room so recognizable in the façade on the corner of Central Park South, watching the horse-drawn carriages downstairs and listening to the yellow taxis honking their way up and down Fifth Avenue. Despite the state of the rooms, the views of Central Park were stunning, now almost entirely reserved for those condo owners.
Eager to take a memento home, we paid the glorious sum of $1 for a Plaza shoe mitt, which we still have to this day. And though we’ve never stayed at The Plaza in its latest incarnation, we kind of like the memory we have as it is: of empty hallways, faded wallpaper, and abandoned, dilapidated suites with million-dollar views.