Plaza Hotel Area
The celebrated Plaza Hotel opened October 1, 1907 and epitomized elegance and opulence. Built at the astounding cost (at the time) of $12.5 million, the Plaza was designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, who had earlier designed the Dakota Apartments and the old Waldorf-Astoria building. The extravagant hotel included 800 rooms (with 500 baths), private apartments with between 14 and 17 rooms, two floors of public rooms, ten elevators, five marble staircases, and a two-story ballroom.
As can be seen in the painting, the Plaza Hotel fronts onto Grand Army Plaza, built in 1912 after Joseph Pulitzer bequeathed $50,000 to the city to build a fountain "like those in the Place de la Concorde in Paris." The architect of the plaza, Thomas Hastings, included a fountain but felt that the area, and New York in general, needed more public spaces, and he designed a park for repose and contemplation in the European tradition. Until 1973, The Grand Army Plaza was New York's only public plaza; those at Rockefeller and Lincoln Centers were part of private building complexes.