4. Hotel McAlpin
Image from Library of Congress
A “lackluster room” in the Hotel McAlpin at Herald Square was the first headquarters for Admiral Byrd’s Antarctica expedition. Shapiro also describes the one-room suite as “embarrassing,” at least to Byrd. The Hotel McAlpin was once the largest hotel in the world, completed in 1912. The building still exists, as a residential building on the corner of 34th Street and Broadway, but its famous restaurant, the Marine Grill, no longer exists.
New York City preservationists and history buffs will know, however, that details of the restaurant are actually located inside the Fulton Street subway station, including its well-known terra cotta murals by Fred Dana Marsh and a cast iron gate. You can see these remnants of the Hotel McAlpin on our popular Underground Tour of the NYC subway:
Underground Tour of the NYC Subway
Byrd would move the headquarters to the offices of publisher George “Gyp” Putnam, who was an explorer himself. The building at 2 West 54th Street was still considered by Byrd “not impressive enough for a commander,” so the headquarters would make yet another move.