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Bergdorf Goodman department store NYC Untapped Cities Photo Credit: Flickr user Cle0patra

Talk about the penthouse suite! Bergdorf Goodman once had a seventeen-room apartment overlooking Fifth Avenue and Central Park. When Edwin Goodman, who bought out Herman Bergdorf’s share of the company in 1903, decided to move the store to its current location on the corner of 58th Street and Fifth Ave., he made sure the new building would include a private apartment for his family. Rumor has it he drew the first sketch of the building on a cocktail napkin in the bar of the Plaza Hotel. Bergdorf Goodman even had a private elevator that only made two stops–Goodman’s office on the seventh floor and the penthouse suite. But here’s the kicker: due to zoning laws, Edwin and his son Andrew had to call themselves janitors in order to live inside the store! 

Nena and Andrew Goodman. © 2013 Entertainment One Films US Nena and Andrew Goodman. © 2013 Entertainment One Films US

Unfortunately, the apartment was turned into the John Barrett Salon (though this means that if you feel like spending $125 on a haircut, you too can see those amazing views). Andrew Goodman and his wife Nena lived there until the 1980s. They often threw parties in the penthouse, including one memorable evening that culminated in a midnight dinner when Barbra Streisand showed up after performing on Broadway.

vanderbilt mansion early 1920sThe grandiose Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion looked like a dwarf compared to the Plaza Hotel.

The apartment had six bedrooms and a bathroom for each one. It may have seemed like the epitome of taste and class, but the walnut paneling was actually a trompe l’oeil made of plaster. Then again, you can’t really knock Bergdorf Goodman–the site itself has grand New York history–it was once the location of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion.

See where the remnants of the Vanderbilt Mansion ended up. Get in touch with the author @lauraitzkowitz.

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