NEW YORK — The legendary Art Deco-influenced Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which opened in 1931 on Park Avenue, New York, has hosted many historic events, U.S. presidents, foreign dignitaries and even some famous celebrities such as Liz Taylor and Frank Sinatra, according to Kevin Browne of Olde Good Things, the architectural salvage company called in to extract architectural elements from the prestigious ‘Towers,’ suites and ballrooms of the hotel.
Closed in 2017 for a two-year renovation, The New York Landmarks Preservation Commission voted in to protect a number of the Waldorf’s public spaces like the hotel’s grand ballroom, a large floor mosaic “Wheel of Life” by the French artist Louis Rigal that adorns an entry hall and the entire main lobby bedecked in black marble pillars and ceiling reliefs.
Some of the rescued Waldorf Astoria treasures include original marble and wooden mantels from the Cole Porter Suite, doors from the Marilyn Monroe Suite and 2,000 lighting fixtures from almost every suite and hallway. Ballroom lighting and architectural items were also rescued including huge chandeliers from the Starlight Room, the four-story high ballroom as well as several rare architectural elements such as Theodore Roosevelt’s paneled room where historic transactions took place.
“Unlike demolition, architectural deconstruction requires finesse instead of sheer force. Reusable items can lose their value if they are damaged during the salvage process,” noted Browne. “To recover the hotel’s more than 250 marble mantels, for example, workers had to cut fasteners in the wall, extricate the mantels, and store them safely on site until it is transported to a warehouse or retail operation.
“We are already selling pieces from the hotel’s interior on our website. Items for sale include light fixtures fashioned from Venetian glass and French crystal, along with more than 40 marble mantels carved in a variety of styles, including a $40,000 inlaid marble mantel from the US Ambassadors Suite. More affordable items include steak knives ($25), polished bronze swan hook ($45), stainless steel slotted egg spoon ($20), and a steel ice scoop ($10),” added Browne.
“It’s a treasure hunt,” said Michael Laudati, a New York-based designer specializing in restoring historic Manhattan building lobbies to the original beauty of a bygone. “You never know what you’re going to find or where you’re going to find it when you shop for architectural salvage.”
Olde Good Things is the nation’s leading architectural salvage company. The company has turned up to rescue treasures from other New York City landmarks, including the Plaza Hotel, John F. Kennedy International Airport, The Flatiron Building and the former headquarters of The New York Times.
If quality and affordability aren’t enough reason to join the treasure hunt, factor in the sense of buying a bit of history and nostalgia along with the idea that repurposing is a smart way to go green.
For additional information, visit www.oldegoodthings.com.