The Grand Hotel is located at 1232–1238 Broadway, on the corner of West 31st Street. It opened in 1868 and can be considered an early skyscraper of NYC. The building still exist. Designed by Henry Engelbert (1826-1901), a notable New York City architect, for Elias Smith Higgins, a prosperous manufacturer and merchant of carpets, it was intended to be a residential hotel.
The six stories of the Grand Hotel, with white marble façade, was topped by a two-story mansard roof. The Broadway façade originally had a cast-iron ground floor of delicate columns and broad plate-glass shop windows. The building is a fine example of the Second Empire style. The architect also designed a loft and store building at 80-82 White Street (1867) and the Central Hotel in 1871, both for Higgins.
In 1870, the Grand Hotel was leased and managed by Henry Milford Smith (1809-1887). In 1882, Oscar Wilde stayed here for a few days. In 1884, it was reported to have 233 rooms. Higgins died in August 1889. In 1903, it was constructed the 12-story "Grand Annex" at 34-36 West 31st Street.
On the northern block on Broadway, between 31st and 32nd streets, the Hotel Imperial was expanding. The first building was erected in 1890. The Imperial Annex opened in 1893 and the New Imperial, in 1903. It became much bigger than the Grand Hotel.
The Grand Hotel was sold in 1904, when the owner and manager was William G. Leland. The new proprietor was George F. Hurlbert. The hotel was redecorated, the name was changed to "New Grand Hotel" and it included the Annex. The name "Grand Hotel and New Annex" was also used. In 1913, it was a popular hotel with big signs advertising rooms $1 up, later $1.50. Around 1914, the name changed again to Manger Grand Hotel.
In the 1940s, it was Milner Hotel. By 1955, it was Hotel Grand (instead of Grand Hotel). In 1957, it became Hadson Hotel and, in the 1970s, it was Clark Apartments. In 1979, the building was designated as a landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission of the City of New York.
Copyright © Geographic Guide - Historic Hotels in NYC.
Moorish Lounge in Grand Hotel (vintage postcard).
Manger Grand Hotel with a big sign advertising rooms $1 up (vintage postcard, postmark 1914).