04 February 2007

Knickerbocker Door Boarded Up


Lovers of New York history know well the obscure locked door marked "Knickerbocker" that is located in a corner of the Times Square subway station's Shuttle platform. It once led directly to the Knickerbocker Hotel, an in-fashion lodging of the early part of the 20th century, just as Broadway was becoming Broadway. For decades since the Knickerbocker shut up, the door still stood below the sidewalk, allowing waiting straphangers to idly pass the minutes until another train came by wondering what it must have been like to sit at the Old King Cole bar with it's Maxfield Parrish murals and order a drink from a bartender who may or may not have invented the Martini.

Well, the glorious old door is no longer on view. On a recent trip on the Shuttle I notice the area where it had stood was boarded up tightly by a contractor. Of the activity going in inside, nothing could be glimpsed.



This may have something to do with recent reports that the otherworldly Arab nation of Dubai has bought the old Beaux-Arts building on the corner of 42nd and Broadway which was built to be the Knickerbocker, and planned to restore it to its former use and glory. In that case, the door may not only again see the light of day, but might actually be put back to its original purpose. Wouldn't that be something: Grand Central to Shuttle to Knickerbocker without ever stepping a foot on the sidewalk.

1 comment:

Richard Smith said...

Hi Brooks of Sheffield,

Love the blog. I think it's great that someone is recording the changing face of a great city like this.
I'm thinking of doing something similar in my home city, Sheffield,UK, (do you know it?) which is undergoing a fantastic rebirth, but at the same time is losing a lot of its interesting old corners.

Richard S,
Sheffield