12. Hotel Astor

Hotel Astor. Photo via Library of Congress

The Astor was a Neo-Classical and Second Empire styled hotel and built on Broadway at Forty-fifth Street. It had a green copper mansard roof, a Louis XV-style Rococo ballroom, a theater and a rooftop garden for entertainment, drinking, and dining.

The Astor closed in 1972 because the building had maintenance issues. It was slated to be destroyed and turned into an office tower along with several other theaters on the block, but the community intent on preserving the integrity of the theater inside fought against its destruction for twelve years. They were unsuccessful and the Astor was torn down to make way for what is now 1515 Broadway and at the next block, the Helen Hayes Theater, the Morosco Theater, and the Bijou theater were torn down to build the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The hotel itself lives on in an illustration on Dr. Brown’s Soda cans.

There are some other great locations that came in through the open question on Facebook, including those who wanted to bring back automats like Horn & Hardart, the National Academy, the barge office at The Battery, the Bowery Theater, the Savoy Plaza Hotel, and the aforementioned Helen Hayes Theater. On very opposite ends of the spectrum, one person voted to bring back Carnegie Deli while another put forth Fort Amsterdam. There was also a vote for a building still standing, like 2 Columbus Circle that was significantly altered (now the Museum of Arts & Design), one vote for the peep show Show World in Times Square, and one vote for no buildings at all. There were several votes for the Roxy Theater, after this article was published. Then there are these author’s personal favorites, the old Post Office in City Hall (known as Mullet’s Monstrosity) and the Vanderbilt Mansion on Fifth Avenue, which received another reader vote.

Well that was fun! Join us on our next tour of the Remnants of Penn Station!