Places that Matter

Concourse Plaza Hotel (former)

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Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
As the first hotel in the Bronx, hosted many significant events and celebrities
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Place Matters Profile

The Concourse Plaza Hotel once wined, dined, slept and bar mitzvahed the Bronx's luminaries. From the mid-century belle of the Grand Concourse it became the symbol of the borough's decay in the early 1970s. Today it is a city-owned residence for senior citizens and a reminder of a glamorous era in the Bronx's past.

Originally built in 1922, the Concourse Plaza Hotel elegantly complemented the Grand Concourse's stately apartment buildings. Overlooking Joyce Kilmer Park, the hotel was built across the street from the distinguished Bronx County Courthouse and near to Yankee Stadium. The Grand Concourse, designed in the late 1800s by Louis Aloys Risse and built between 1902 and 1909, was the Champs-Elysees of the Bronx. Shaded by trees, with traffic separated by wide lush medians, the 1939 WPA Guide to New York City called the concourse the "Park Avenue of middle-class Bronx residents."

The hotel was first envisioned and funded by a group of prominent Bronxites who called themselves the Bronx Boosters. Its opening soiree in 1923 boasted Governor Al Smith as speaker. Soon every civic, business and religious organization in the Bronx was holding their banquets at the Plaza, a rival to its counterparts in Manhattan. The hotel's ten upper floors were filled with apartments, each with its own kitchen and interior decoration in pink and green, while the ground level hosted amenities such as a barber, hair dresser, and valet. The main floor housed the famous Wedgewood and Crystal ballrooms, dripping with chandeliers.