About 1869, 15 years before our ClockTower, a NYC department store magnate named Alexander T. Stewart had an idea.
There was no real place to live for the respectable, single working woman, so he pioneered the concept of a residence hotel on what is now Park Avenue South.
The “Hotel for Working Women” between 32nd and 33rd Streets was a modern cast iron wonder, and few expenses were spared to create a lavish safe place for single ladies to call home.
It opened to much fanfare April 2, 1878 and barely lasted 2 months.
The extravagance of the hotel’s offerings were not even remotely paid for by the modest weekly room cost.
So the working women were removed and it was converted to the Park Avenue Hotel, reopened a few weeks later at substantially higher prices.
He added a smoking room, a billiard room, and a barber shop. It worked for awhile.
But by 1927 the New York scene was flapper-moderne, and that old cast-iron lady had to go.
We tore it down and got a crappy, undistinguished high-rise in its place.