We mentioned in a previous post about the interesting past of our host hotel, the Row NYC in Midtown Manhattan.
Located in the heart of the Theater District and one block from Times Square, this historic hotel is one of the largest hotels in the city with 1,331 rooms. The hotel opened on February 13, 1928 as the Hotel Lincoln, one day after the 113th anniversary of the birth of its namesake, Abraham Lincoln.
The hotel was purchased by prominent real estate developer William Zeckendorf in September 1957, remodeled and renamed the Manhattan Hotel. The existing Hotel Lincoln sign was removed and in 1958 a new, now iconic neon sign was added atop the building to replace it—an enormous letter “M” 31 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Zeckendorf ran the Manhattan until 1964 when it was sold to the English & became the Royal Manhattan.
Unfortunately, in the 1960s, things started downhill for the Manhattan. By the late 1970s the hotel was closed and boarded up. In 1978, the Milstein family purchased the hotel and reopened it in 1980. They named it the Milford Plaza Hotel because they did not want to change the huge neon “M” sign on the roof.
It’s appropriate that our choir is housed in this hotel because it has a musical past of its own. American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, Count Basie & Lester Young played in the Blue Room nightclub of the hotel for many years.