4. An Unsolved Murder Occurred at The Barbizon

1951 Postcard, Courtesy of Paulina Bren

The Barbizon offered a safe haven for single-women in New York City. Its single-sex status and selective reputation comforted parents who were sending their young daughters out into the world for the first time. However, despite the safety promised by the pale brick walls of the Barbizon and the comforting protective presence of guardians like Mrs. Sibley and the long-time doorman Oscar, tragic events did occur at the Barbizon.

In the 1970s and 80s when New York City as whole was racked by crime, so was the Barbizon. In 1975, long-time resident Ruth Harding was found strangled to death in her room on the 11th floor. Bren writes that the 79-year-old was a friendly fixture of the hotel who “liked to hang out in the lobby and talk to anyone willing to listen.” Her tragic and mysterious murder is still unsolved.