The Knickerbocker in Times Square, one of the most beautiful buildings in New York City, is slated to re-open as a luxury hotel in 2014, more than a hundred years after it was originally built by John Jacob Astor IV. Astor was one of the wealthiest people in the world at the time and a true renaissance man who also built the Waldorf Astoria and The St. Regis New York before he went down on the Titanic in 1912.
The stunning Beaux Arts building, a registered New York landmark, will become the newest member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World collection when it re-opens following renovations estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. During its heyday The Knickerbocker was the nexus of New York’s most fashionable society; one legend has it that the martini was invented in its swanky bar.
Famed tenor Enrico Caruso lived there for several years and Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller made it his home away from home. The iconic mural of Old King Cole by Maxfield Parrish that now hangs in the bar of The St. Regis was originally commissioned for The Knickerbocker. “The Knick” is also mentioned by F. Scott Fitzgerald in This Side of Paradise.
In 1921 the hotel was converted to office space and later became the home of Newsweek magazine for many years. The hotel’s owners have internationally acclaimed architecture and interior design firm Peter Poon Architects and Gabellini Sheppard, who designed the Edition Istanbul and PUBLIC Chicago to design the property’s posh public spaces as well as 330 spacious guestrooms, including 40 suites. A master chef will be brought on to oversee a signature restaurant and bar on the fourth-floor, a ground-level boulangerie, and an iconic 7,500-square-foot rooftop bar and terrace which will have one of the most impressive views in Manhattan.