The full membership of Community Board 5 in New York City has now officially voted to recommend landmark status for the Hotel Pennsylvania by a vote of 21 to 8. This follows the previous week's vote by a subcommittee to bring the issue to the full board. We had a very good turnout that included HOPE attendees and members of the hotel staff. We were also able to read selected comments from people who sent remarks to our special email address. This is a major victory in the fight to save the hotel from demolition and we want to thank everyone who participated. But these are still the early days of the battle to save the hotel. As we move on to the next step, we will be posting updates here. Please stay updated by visiting the official "Save the Hotel site" and participating in our online forum. You can also continue to send mail to us with your reasons why the hotel should be saved to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We first reported the story of the hotel's planned demolition back in January. Since then a number of efforts have been made to get the public's attention and to help preserve what we consider to be a truly historic place. The replacement being proposed would do little to welcome visitors to New York and would result in another flashy advertisement structure to replace the 1700 relatively cheap rooms that are filled year round.
The first HOPE conference took place there in 1994. The next HOPE conference is scheduled for July 18-20, 2008.
The fight to save the hotel faces an uphill battle for a number of reasons. It simply is not luxurious enough for many tastes. The rooms are not generally huge as they are quite old. And while the outside of the structure is quite impressive, much of the inside has been changed and refurbished over the decades. Many New Yorkers simply don't see the need for another old structure to be preserved. But New Yorkers are also the least likely to benefit from the hotel in the first place. People from all over the world stay there when visiting New York because of its remarkable accessibility (right across the street from Penn Station) and prices that are about half that of other hotels. It is very unlikely we would be able to find another venue in New York to hold HOPE conferences that wouldn't cost many times more. The same holds true for all sorts of other events that have chosen this particular hotel. So, regardless of what many think of the architecture and the current condition of the place, there is history and there is significance. Most of all, there is a need. That need will certainly not be filled by yet another huge financial tower.
There are other fronts to fight for the preservation of the hotel which are being discussed at our online forum. Please join the discussion and spread the word.
Recent articles about the hotel's impending doom and the fight to save it:
The New York Observer #1
The New York Observer #2
The New York Observer #3
The New York Observer #4
The New York Times #1
The New York Times #2
The New York Times #3
The City Review