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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

The centennial of the Plaza Hotel was celebrated last night with a fireworks show launched from the building's roof and many of its windows.

A 12-foot-high cake replicating the design of the famous landmark was displayed in the city of the plaza in front of the east entrance to the hotel, whose $400-million-plus renovation is nearing completion. The Orchestra of St. Luke's played on a podium in front of the entrance as image from the hotel's history were displayed on two very large video screens.

Ceremonies marking the occasion were scheduled to start at 7:15PM but did not begin until about 7:45 PM as invited guests moved to the plaza on the northwest corner of 59th Street and Fifth Avenue where they were given splits of Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne, opened with straws inserted whose tops were still enclosed in paper.

Shalva Berti sang the theme from "Love Story" and Matthew Broderick, the actor, jibed "Let's Go Mets" before introducing Isaac Tshuva, the founder and chairman of the El-Ad Group, whose Elad Properties subsidiary bought the property three years ago for $675 million from Alwaleed Bin Talal Abdulaziz Alsaud, a Saudi Prince, and Millennium and Copthorne Hotels. Two years ago, Elad sold the hotel portion of the property back to the prince for about $500 million. The renovation of the hotel has created 181 condominium apartments, a 134-room hotel on floors 4 through 10, and 152 hotel-condo units on floors 11 through 21. According to an article in the October 1, 2007 edition of The New York Sun by Bradley Hope "just 12 of the luxury condos have yet to be purchased..., and a third of the hotel-condos are gone," adding that condos selling at a minimum of $5,000 a square foot, Elad is poised to rake in nearly $2.4 billion in residential sales."

Mr. Tshuva said that the hotel portion of the renovation project will open December 12 and the remainder of the project "shortly thereafter...more magnificent than ever." Other speakers included Peter Ward, the president of the New York Hotel Trades Council, who was married at the Plaza 24 years ago, Gal Nauer, Mr. Tschuva's lissome daughter, who was the interior architect who worked on the renovation, and Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff.

The fireworks display initially displayed "100" on the middle of the building's facade facing Central Park, which elicited a lot of "oohs" from the crowd. It then escalated and went around the building to include its east facade and went through a series of spectacular bursts that seemed to emanate from inside windows and all over the facades, eliciting loud "wows" from the crowd, which included Martha Stewart, Robert Tierney, the chairman of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission, and Ward Morehouse III, the author of a book on the famed hotel.

Paul Anka then serenaded Mr. Tshuva with "My Way," a song he wrote for Frank Sinatra but rewritten for the occasion, referring to living for "a mere $50 million bucks.," Mr. Tshuva, looked ebullient, chimed in on a refrain at Mr. Anka's prompting.

The Plaza Hotel was designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, the architect who designed the Dakota apartment building at 1 West 72nd Street, and opened in 1907. In 1921, Warren & Wetmore designed an expansion on 58th Street. The hotel's exterior was designated a city landmark in the 1960s and eight of its public rooms were declared interior landmarks in 2004.

The "Private Residences" at The Plaza Hotel have their own entrance on Central Park South and a large garden court with cascading fountain at the bottom of the building's large rectangular lightwell. The "residences" are all on the north and east sides of the building and the hotel rooms are on the south side along 58th Street.
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Additional Info About the Building

Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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