St. Denis Hotel - 1893
At 799 Broadway, corner of East 11th Street
Photographs of the St. Denis Hotel published in the King's Handbook of New York City of 1893. A view of the Grace Church, from East Eleventh Street, is on the right. The hotel was expanded in 1891. According to the Handbook,
"the hotel has for many years been one of the well-known landmarks of the metropolis, and has been celebrated in Howells' works and other choice modern literature. In 1875 the hotel property was leased by William Taylor, who had served a long apprenticeship with his elder brother, in the famous Taylor's saloon, at Broadway and Franklin Street. This was, perhaps, the most magnificent restaurant ever seen in America. When Mr. Taylor assumed the charge of the St. Denis, his first work was to reconstruct it ; and this skilful renovation so greatly increased its good fame and patronage that it was found necessary to construct a very large addition. There are many points of attractiveness about the hotel, the conveniences and compactness of the office, the quiet and spacious reading-room, the dainty parlors, and the famous Colonial dining-room, a triumph of refined architecture. The whole establishment is pervaded by such an air of home comfort, and is, withal, so convenient to everywhere, that people who once visit it as guests afterwards make it their domicile while in New York. The equipments of the house, as to steam heating, electric lighting, ventilating, and hydraulic elevators, are supplemented by a perfect corps of polite and well-disciplined attendants.
The situation of the St. Denis; is exceptionally good, being midway between the up-town residence quarter, and the down-town business quarter, and facing on Broadway, the brightest and most fascinating street in the world. Looking across from the hotel parlors and public rooms, the stranger might fancy himself in some venerable cathedral town of England, for the wide spaces fronting the St. Denis; are occupied by the beautiful Gothic edifice of Grace Church and its rectory and connecting buildings, set amid rich velvety lawns. It is a scene full of peaceful and restful suggestions. On the opposite corners are the great retail dry-goods houses of James McCreery & Co., and Hilton, Hughes & Co., the successors of A. T. Stewart & Co. A few minutes' walk above the St. Denis is the brilliant Union Square, and the shopping district extends on all sides. The restaurant of the St. Denis is widely and pleasantly known, as a place where delicious cooking, elegant surroundings and attentive service are combined with very reasonable rates. These recognized facts make the restaurant a favorite resort for shopping parties and many other people of fashion, as well as for the guests of the hotel.
The Broadway cable-cars pass the doors almost every minute, and give quick access to the City Hall or the Battery, and to the up-town squares or Central Park. Within easy walking distance, also, are the 9th-Street and 14th-Street stations of the Third-Avenue and Sixth-Avenue Elevated Railways.
The St. Denis has many points of attraction which may not he found in the great up-town hotels; and prominent among these is the absolute coziness of its public rooms, which, indeed, do not seem in the least like parts of a hotel, but rather like pleasant nooks in a refined home. Yet there are so many of these charming rooms, for divers uses, that they are never crowded or uncomfortable ; and from their windows one can watch the vast and perpetual human tides flow up and down Broadway, with the cathedralesque gray spires of Grace Church looking calmly down on the busy and brilliant scene."
Copyright © Geographic Guide - Historic Hotels in NYC, 19th Century.