St. Denis Hotel
The former St. Denis Hotel at 799 Broadway, corner of East 11th Street, south of Union Square, opened in June 1853, and closed by 1919. It was once one o the leading hotels in New York City. The building was demolished in 2019. In the 19th century the hotel was also referred to in advertising as "Hotel St. Denis", but the name St Denis Hotel was placed at the main entrance, after expansion in the early 20th century.
The hotel was designed by architect James Renwick Jr. (1818-1895), who also designed the current temple of Grace Church across the street, consecrated in 1846, and St. Patrick's Cathedral, consecrated in 1879. His family owned the property.
The six-story St. Denis Hotel occupied 76 feet on Broadway and 120 feet on 11th Street. At a time when there was no passenger elevator, very few hotels in the City were so high. Its name was a reference to the first proprietor: Denis Julian. Saint Denis is the patron saint of France. The hotel opened its doors in June 1853, in time for the exhibition at the Crystal Palace, that began in July 14, 1853.
St. Denis Hotel was comfortable and elegant. Mary Todd Lincoln, General Grant, Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill and other celebrities stayed at the hotel. Alexander Graham Bell gave his first New York demonstration of his "telephone over wire", in 1877, at the hotel.
In 1854, the hotel had 30 suites of apartments for families, 24 suites for single gentlemen and near one hundred separate rooms, including a house on 11th Street and the six-story house adjoining, on Broadway.
On January 17, 1873, there was a small panic at the hotel caused by a fire in one of the rooms, but it was soon extinguished, causing slight damage.
In 1875, the hotel property was leased by William Taylor. The hotel was renovated and a large addition was constructed. In 1891, the it was expanded. In 1897, in an advertising put in the New-York Tribune, signed by William Taylor & Son, it can be read: "In a modest and unobtrusive way there are few better conducted hotels in the metropolis than the St. Denis". "The great popularity it has acquired can readily be traced to its unique location, its homelike atmosphere, the peculiar excellence of its cuisine and service, and its very moderate prices." By 1907, William Taylor & Son were also the proprietors of Hotel Martinique, where the firm had its office.
In 1905, a 9-story apartment house, also called St. Denis, opened on the northeast corner Riverside Drive and West 92nd Street.
In March 1912, the St. Denis Hotel Company was incorporated to take over the hotel on a ten-year lease. Frank A. McNamee was the president. The building was renovated and it was said to be "the only first-class hotel near all steamships lines", with home-like surroundings and of five minutes walk of Shopping District, seven minutes from Grand Central Depot and 10 minutes to leading stores and theaters. It was managed by Raymond L. Carroll. But the St. Denis Hotel Co. had a petition in bankruptcy filled against its owners by June, 1913. It contained then 250 rooms.
The New York Times announced that the hotel would close its doors on July 2, 1917. The Renwick state, owners of the land, wanted to use the site for a loft building. The changed character of the neighborhood was one of the reasons that caused the decision. On July 11, all of its properties and effects, from Bibles to champagne buckets, entered in a three-day auction sale.
The United States entered the Great War in 1917. In February 3, 1918, the New York Tribune announced that "the old St. Denis hotel is to have $50,000 spent on it to transform it into a comfortable barrack for men waiting to go on shipboard". But it was still a promise in July the same year and the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.
In 1919, the St. Denis closed its doors to all patrons, according to the New York Times. On February 11, 1920, the Renwick family sold the property to a syndicate headed by Ely Bernays. The new owners renovated the building and the beautiful façade decoration was removed.
In the early 2018, the building's tenants were evicted. The city's Landmark Preservation Commission reviewed the structure for landmark status, but it was found to be significantly altered and to not merit consideration for designation as an individual landmark. The building was razed, in 2019, to make way for a new 12-story office building, developed by Columbia Property Trust.
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St. Denis Hotel
Broadway, west side, from 10th to 12th Street in 1899. The St. Denis Hotel is represented in the southwest corner of 11th Street.