The NoMad District is renowned not only for its recent starchitect statements but also for its glorious 18th and 19th Century buildings, one of which has been given a new “Life” recently as the newly opened LIFE Hotel.
The name for the new hotel is a tribute to LIFE Magazine, which was once housed in the iconic neoclassical building. Originally built by LIFE in 1895, the building remained home to the magazine until 1936. This architectural gem was designed by Carrere and Hastings, the firm which designed a number of other architectural masterpieces in New York including the splendid Main Branch of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, the interior of the old Metropolitan Opera House on 39th street; and the Henry Clay Frick House (now home to the Frick collection).
To create the hotel, it’s predecessor — the Herald Square Hotel — has undergone an $8 million dollar renovation by David Mitchell and the architectural firm Montroy DeMarco Architecture. The renovation has brought back the building’s splendor with modern amenities and contemporary interior designs.
It is interesting to consider that when LIFE was prepared in this building, celebrated writers and artists like Norman Rockwell, Charles Gibson, and John Ames Mitchell worked, played and even sometimes resided here after a long night, much like the hotel will operate now. In fact, an intimate bar serving classic cocktails harkening back to the old days when LIFE magazine staffers patronized the speakeasy that occupied the basement space during prohibition. Like so much of NoMad, the LIFE Hotel functions much the same way it did a hundred years ago, but in an up-to-the-minute way.
Stephen Hanson, of BR Guest Hospitality, who helped helm the project, shared with Travel Daily News the following:
“The Life brand is all about four-star service at a smart and accessible price. You’ll feel that personal touch and value from the moment you walk into the lobby – the buzz and excitement of people working from our communal tables, enjoying a cocktail at the bar or a bite in the restaurant will be enough to convince you that you’re not in an average hotel. And just wait until you experience a night in one of our guest rooms.”
The Life Restaurant, by Chef Michael Vignola and veteran restaurateur Stephen Hanson, will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner in addition to a full bar in the lobby. The downstairs “speakeasy” lounge can be utilized as a private dining or meeting space for up to 60 people.
19 West 31st Street
New York, NY 10001