R.I.P The Barbizon

Returning from a visit to my talented dentist Cheryl Tomasulo this afternoon, I was briefly drawn into a liquidation sale at the site of the former Melrose Hotel on East 63rd Street and Lexington.

The former Melrose Hotel is a fabulous 1926 brick pile that was originally a women-only hotel called the Barbizon.

I love this building; I stayed at the Barbizon several years ago on RLG business (and at Jim Michalko’s recommendation), and I still remember how grateful I was, arriving at 4am after a nightmare 10-hour journey from D.C., to find a complimentary bottle of mineral water, a large chocolate chip cookie and a mini HiFi system in my small but very-well-designed-and-prepped room. I loved the Gothic, even Gotham architecture, the views down Lexington Avenue, and the fact that you could actually open the windows wide enough to throw yourself out, should you be so inclined.

Later, after 9/11, and after the Barbizon was renamed the Melrose Hotel, I got a job with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on 62nd & Lex, so I got to spend plenty more time gazing at this beautiful building. The Library Bar was easily the closest watering hole to the Mellon Foundation, and was a regular post-work destination for members of the ARTstor Social Club.

So today it was with a mixture of sadness, morbid curiosity and a sense of privilege that I examined the liquidation sale of assorted furniture, magnifying mirrors, telephones, hairdryers and mini HiFi systems in what used to be the Library Bar, before riding the elevator up to the 20th floor to roam around the gutted penthouse apartments and terraces.

No doubt the building will now be converted into super-deluxe condos for the rich and famous, but whatever happens to it, I’ll always have good memories and a soft spot for the Barbizon.

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