Manufacturer: Mayer China
User: Hotel New Yorker
Distributor: Maddock & Miller, Inc., New York
Date of plate: 1940s – 1950s
Notes: Built in the Art Deco-style in 1929, the New Yorker Hotel was the largest hotel in New York when it opened on January 2, 1930 with 43 stories and 2,500 rooms. Known as the Skyscraper Hotel, the pyramidal set-back building, located at 8th Avenue & 34th Street in New York City, offered more than grand ballrooms; the hotel had 10 private dining salons and five restaurants, employing 35 master cooks in an acre of kitchens. The barber shop was one of the largest in the world with 42 chairs and 20 manicurists. There were 92 telephone operators and 150 laundry staff. The hotel had 23 elevators, which traveled 900 miles a day and had the capacity to transport 200,000 people in 24-hours.
In the sub-basement was the hotel power plant, advertised as America's largest private power plant, consisting of five steam engines and an oil-burning diesel that produced enough light, heat, power and refrigeration to support a city of 35,000 people.
Another sub-basement level offered a convenient underground hotel platform, where the Broadway Limited train transported passengers to/from Penn Station. The underground tunnel to the hotel has since been closed and sealed as a security measure.
Engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla best known for his scientific contributions in the field of electricity and magnetism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries lived the last ten years of his life, until the age of 86, in Room 3327 on the 33rd floor of the Hotel New Yorker. Tesla had some unusual quirks and phobias; he was driven to do things in threes and would only stay in a hotel room with a number divisible by three.
In addition to celebrities from the early years of its history, the Hotel New Yorker hosted President John F. Kennedy, boxer Muhammad Ali (after his controversial fight with Sony Liston in 1965), and Cuban leader Fidel Castro (who stayed there the last time he visited Manhattan), just to name a few.
By the late 1960s, with the fading of the Big Band era and competition from more modern hotels, the New Yorker Hotel lost profitability and closed its doors in April 1972.
In May 1976, the hotel was purchased by the the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church for $5.6 million. The Unification Church known today (2009) as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification has owned the hotel for the past three decades. The hotel initially was used for church purposes, but it later reopened in June 1994 after extensive renovation, and in January 2000 became a part of the Ramada franchise chain. With an additional $65 million investment in architectural and interior design renovations, the New Yorker Hotel in 2009 has 860 contemporary guestrooms.
New Yorker Hotel Website
Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee, by Peter Richmond, Macmillan Publishing, 2007
Wikipedia, New Yorker Hotel
Wikipedia, Nikola Tesla
Wikipedia, Unification Church
Universal Peace Federation Website
"Bed Bugs Steal New Yorker Hotel's Renovation Thunder," The New York Observer, 09/25/2007
"Moon Sect Steadily Adds Properties To Its Domain," The New York Times, 09/19/1976
"New Yorker Hotel is Sold to Church of the Rev. Moon," The New York Times, 05/13/1976
White body with wide, multi-colored ornamental border of alternating geometric shapes, florals and leaves in red, green, blue and pink. The border was designed by John E. Philips of Chicago in 1930.
Photo of demi cup & saucer contributed by Harry Aycock