28 May 2009

Old Tribeca Hotel to Get a Bulkhead

Up for consideration before the Landmark Preservation Commission on June 2 will be none other that 125-131 Chambers Street, a hiding-in-plain-sight landmark that I wrote about only a couple weeks ago.

Now known at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, the white boxy building once bore that name Hotel Bond. But that's not the point. The point is this address has been a hotel since the 1860s, making it the oldest ongoing, extant hotel building in the city. Which is something.

The owners aren't up to anything heinous. But they are proposing that be allowed to "modify the entrance and construct a rooftop bulkhead." They also want to demolish neighboring 101 West Broadway, a nothing-special, two-story building, and erect a six-story replacement. None of this sounds too horrible, and doubtless 125-131 Chambers has been altered plenty in its 150-year-old life.

The LPC description of the structure is interesting, though, intimating that the building is older than previously thought. It was originally built in 1844-45, with additions built in 1852-53, 1867-68 and 1869.


Someone Said said...

Stayed at the Cosmopolitan a couple of years back. Very affordable for the location and would stay again if the opportunity presents itself. Can't wait to see the new building.

Ian Schoenherr said...

The Federal Writer's Project's NYC Guide (1939) says:

"The COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL, at Chambers Street and West Broadway, the oldest hotel in the city, was opened in 1850 as the Gerard House, drawing steady patronage from nearby steamship piers and the first Grand Central Terminal, then across the street."

And NY Times mentions it as the "Cosmopolitan Hotel" as early as October 1869.

Ian Schoenherr said...

Apparently, the name was "Girard House", not "Gerard House". Among other mentions of the place, the Times for April 10, 1869 says: "Conrad Beingle, a carpenter, fell yesterday from the roof of the Girard House, corner of Chambers-street and West Broadway, and was instantly killed. The mangled remains were picked up from the sidewalk and were removed for an inquest by the Coroner. The unfortunate man was a German, aged 51 years, and resided in West Eleventh-street, between West and Washington streets. He leaves a wife and four children."