The Barbizon Hotel is a landmark building located at 140 East 63rd Street (136-146 East 63rd Street, 813-817 Lexington Avenue) on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It opened in 1927 as a residential hotel and clubhouse for single women. In 2005 it was renamed Barbizon 63.
Before the Barbizon, Allerton Hotel for Women, at 130 East 57th Street, on the southwest corner of Lexington Avenue, in the New York City, opened its doors in 1923.
The 23-story Barbizon Club for women was designed by the architectural firm Murgatroyd & Ogden, replacing the old synagogue at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue, built in 1873, and an adjacent building. It was constructed by the Lex Ave & 63rd Street Corporation, headed by James S. Pollard and William H. Silk. The plans with the Department of Buildings were filed in December 1926. Construction began in March 1927 and it was completed by February 1928.
It was named after the École de Barbizon, a school of arts near the forest of Fontainebleau, in France. Most of the rooms were small boxes and bathrooms were shared. Its exterior brickwork varies considerably in hue and texture and it has a complex arrangement of setbacks and recessed courts. The first two stories are treated as arcades.
It was a female-only club
residential hotel for professional woman, with no men allowed above the ground
floor. Strict dress and conduct rules were enforced. There were gymnasium,
swimming pool, coffee shop, dining room, Turkish bath, studios, rehearsal,
concert spaces, lounges and a library. The first floor lounge was equipped with
a stage and pipe organ and had a seating capacity of 300 to accommodate concerts
and theatricals. The upper floors contained studios for painters, sculptors,
musicians, and drama students. There were also smaller
soundproofed rooms, equipped for music students. On the 18th floor there were a solarium and roof garden. Barbizon also provided meeting space to groups such as the National Junior League, Arts Council of New York, and women’s college clubs. The hotel also leased exhibition and meeting space to the Arts Council of New York and meeting rooms to the Wellesley, Cornell Women’s, and Mount Holyoke Clubs.
Some famous guests and residents: Lauren Bacall, Jennifer Jones, Candice Bergen, Margaret Brown, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Camille Keaton Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Nancy Reagan and Cybill Shepherd. In the late 1940s the Ford Modeling Agency began housing its models at the Barbizon.
In 1929, the Barbizon-Plaza Centre, intended to be a combined residence and professional building, for both men and women, was under construction on Central Park South, by the syndicate controlling the two buildings.
In April 1931, Chase National Bank brought foreclosure proceedings against the Lex Avenue & 63rd Street Corporation. In July 1932, the hotel, its fixtures, and furnishings were put up for auction and bought in by a consortium of the hotel’s bondholders, headed by realtor Lawrence B. Elliman, president of Pease & Elliman. The bondholders formed a new corporation, Hotel Barbizon, Inc.
In 1980, Teitelbaum and a group of
investors bought the hotel. In 1981, the Barbizon Hotel began admitting men as
guests. In 1982, the tower studios were converted to expensive apartments. In
1983 the hotel was bought by KLM Airlines and it was renamed Golden Tulip
Barbizon Hotel. In 1988, the hotel was acquired by a group led by Ian Schrager
and Steve Rubell and then the hotel was lost to foreclosure in 1994. In
2001, the hotel was acquired by the Barbizon Hotel Associates and it operated as part of its Melrose Hotel Chain. In 2005, it was renamed Barbizon 63.
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