Herald Square seems packed full of retail, department stores, and office buildings today, but there’s a large apartment building at the corner of 34th Street and Broadway that was once the Hotel McAlpin. At its completion in 1912, it was the largest hotel in the world with a Turkish bath on the top floor and two gender-specific floors.
Perhaps most of note was the Hotel McAlpin’s restaurant, the Marine Grill, for its terra cotta murals and cast iron entrance gate. In fact, the restaurant originally had a different name but was renamed the Marine Grill, in celebration of the subject matter of the murals–major moments in New York City’s maritime history from Henry Hudson’s arrival to Robert Fulton’s steamship. Thanks to preservationists, the terra cotta murals and the entrance gate are now embedded into the new Fulton Center Transit Hub.
According to a staffer at the MTA’s Lower Manhattan projects, the cast-iron gate functions both as a decorative piece for the station and a functional element to separate two sets of turnstiles at the Williams Street entrance. The terra cotta murals, originally from 1913 by Fred Dana Marsh, are installed just nearby in the long transit corridor. They were actually originally installed in the Fulton Street station in 2000 but were removed in 2009 for the renovation of the station, reinstalled in 2011.
Take a tour inside the brand new Fulton Center Transit Hub that opened to much fanfare yesterday.