This view of The Plaza Hotel was taken from Central Park a number of years ago. I cannot remember the month I shot this photo, but it was clearly during the winter season.
This landmark French Renaissance style hotel was built in the early 1900’s: first day of business was October 1, 1907. At nineteen stories tall, it was truly a skyscraper at that time.
My introduction to The Plaza came when I first saw Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal film, North By Northwest, in 1959. Hitchcock shot scenes in and around the hotel in August of 1958. The Oak Bar was memorably featured — today, unfortunately, the bar is no longer in operation.
Coincidentally, Cary Grant, the star of North By Northwest, had an apartment at The Plaza when the filming took place.
Through the years, The Plaza has hosted a number of gala events, weddings, and prominent gatherings. Perhaps the most famous of which was “the party of the century” on November 28, 1966. It was called The Black and White Ball because of the color of the dress code and the masks which guests were required to wear. Host Truman Capote invited the creme de la creme of the international jet set, including; Frank Sinatra, Rose Kennedy, and many others.
Interestingly, The Plaza has also hosted funerals. The most elaborate of these funerals may have been for John Warne Gates, an industrialist who was known for pioneering barbed wire.
Following a $450 million dollar restoration in 2008, The Plaza is now divided into condos and hotel rooms. We salute this iconic hotel’s upcoming 109th birthday this fall.