Friday, January 28, 2011

Try getting this catchy tune out of your head!

And a little something silly for Friday: The Hotel Seville was a brilliant Beaux-Arts jewel exemplar of the glory days of Madison Avenue, opening in 1904 -- just days before the New York subway -- and designed by Harry Allen Jacobs. The architect was a master of the ebullient Beaux-Arts style, applying it to apartment buildings, homes and hotels that are still scattered throughout the city, including the Hotel Marseilles (built around the same time as the Seville).

Times were good for the Seville, as reflected in its signature Tiffany-inspired skylight, but by the 1970s, it was luxuriant no more. The hotel hit hard times, went 'budget' and produced the following television advertisement. Picture any hotel that presently exists today trying to promote itself with this sort of schmaltz:




One guest who stayed here during this period was Sid Vicious, distraught over the death of Nancy Spungeon, who slashed his arm and overdosed on methadone in one of its rooms in October of 1978. He would survive, of course, suffering another brief stay at Riker's Island before dying of a heroin overdose at an apartment on 63 Bank Street in the West Village.

The hotel slid to some very sorry places before being purchased in the 1980s. Today its the Carlton Hotel, extensively renovated, featuring high-end bars and restaurants and a lobby waterfall. And Jacobs' notable architecture was finally honored in 2005 when it made the National Register of Historic Places. I haven't seen any television commercials for the Carlton recently, but I hope they're as catchy as those of its predecessor.

3 comments:

  1. Dig up the 'Lulla-BUY of Broadway' spot for the Milford Plaza. This Seville spot wasn't all that odd when tourism was at a nadir and our rep as the mugging capital of the world was all over the national and world media. Today, this kind of shameless pandering to middle-class suburbia and the Midwest isn't necessary...although Bloomberg doesn't understand that in the least.

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  2. Is that actor Corbin Bernson (Spelling) in the second frame?

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  3. Isn't that the tune to "Won't you come home, Bill Bailey"?

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