New York City storied Gramercy Park Hotel might never make a comeback

New York City‘s famed Gramercy Park Hotel, an impromptu home for both rock stars and intellectuals, could be forced to shut its doors for good with real estate tycoon Aby Rosen failing to pay nearly $80 million in late lease fees.  

The Gramercy Hotel closed its door to the public in 2020 as New Yorkers fled the city and the hotel industry grappled with unprecedented uncertainty. 

But even after many businesses made a comeback during the summer, the Gramercy remains shuttered and its future uncertain. 

The hotel sits on land which is owned by Landlord Solil Management, and Rosen’s company RFR Realty holds the lease to run a ‘first-class’ hotel until at least 2078. Under the terms of the lease, Rosen’s company is liable to pay around $5 million in annual lease fees. However, since November 2020 when the hotel closed as a result of the pandemic, RFR has failed to make a $900,000 payment and Solil sought to have it evicted from the property in December, and even went so far as to stick an eviction notice on its iconic doors.  

Although a state Supreme Court justice ruled that Rosen – and his RFR Realty – isn’t personally liable for the ground lease, his other real estate company, GPH Ground Tenant LLC, could potentially still be ordered to make the payment. Solil claims in the lawsuit that Rosen and his company owe $79.5 million from the contract deal.   

As a result, the New York landmark could soon become one of those things the pandemic forever ruined for the city, and the rooms that once housed the Rolling Stones, Bono, Bob Dylan and David Bowie and the walls that witnessed gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s crazed drug orgies might not come back to the public. 

Although the pandemic might’ve been the catalyst for the hotel’s demise, Landlord Solil Management claimed in court the hotel was ‘unkempt’ because of poor management from Rosen’s RFR.

The elevators need to be fixed and the HVAC equipment is ‘patched with duct tape,’ while the facade requires city-ordered work, and the mechanical systems are in bad condition, according to court papers obtained by the New York Post. 

‘Rosen has chosen not to operate the Gramercy Park Hotel and has kept it closed to paying guests,’ alleged the papers. 

Rosen reportedly had his mother and other employees stay at the hotel while it was closed to the public, which goes against terms of the lease that states that it needs to be operated as a ‘first class hotel’ to paying guests.

The Gramercy Park Hotel rooms that once housed the Rolling Stones, Bono, Bob Dylan and David Bowie and the walls that witnessed gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s crazed drug orgies might not come back to the public

The Gramercy Was An  Impromptu Home For Both Rock Stars And Intellectuals, But It Might Have Its Days Counted Due To 'Philistine' Owner Aby Rosen'S Negative To Pay Nearly $80 Million In Late Lease Fees. Above, David Bowie At A Party In The Gramercy

The Gramercy was an  impromptu home for both rock stars and intellectuals, but it might have its days counted due to ‘philistine’ owner Aby Rosen’s negative to pay nearly $80 million in late lease fees. Above, David Bowie at a party in the Gramercy 

The Origins Of The 18-Story Renaissance Revival Hotel Can Be Traced To One Of 66 Swampy Lots Parceled Out In The 1830S To Draw Potential Residents 'Uptown'

The origins of the 18-story Renaissance Revival Hotel can be traced to one of 66 swampy lots parceled out in the 1830s to draw potential residents ‘uptown’

Big-Name Musicians Began Passing Through The Lobby Or Staying For Months At A Time, Giving The New York Hotel Its Rock And Roll Edge

Big-name musicians began passing through the lobby or staying for months at a time, giving the New York Hotel its rock and roll edge

Aby Rosen, Who Has A Reputation For Ruining Landmark Hotels And Disregarding Their History, Is Also The Owner Of The Seagram Building, Where He Disposed Of A Picasso Mural That Is Now On Exhibition New York Historical Society. Above, Rosen (Left) With Nicky Hilton (Right)

Aby Rosen, who has a reputation for ruining landmark hotels and disregarding their history, is also the owner of the Seagram Building, where he disposed of a Picasso mural that is now on exhibition New York Historical Society. Above, Rosen (left) with Nicky Hilton (right) 

Rosen is also the owner of the Seagram Building, where he disposed of a Picasso mural that is now on exhibition at the New York Historical Society. His company owns more than 90 properties valued at over $15.5 billion across the world. 

In the nearly 100 years of the Gramercy’s history, the flamboyant hotel has been home to scholars such as ‘hero of American consciousness’ Timothy Leary and an 11-year-old, future president John F Kennedy.

But it has also housed the upper Manhattan class and groupies who would visit rock stars, and everything in between in its now 190 guests rooms.  

Ben Hartley, executive director of the National Arts Club, located across the hotel, told The New York Post that the loss in culture value would be huge if the Gramercy were to close its doors forever.  

‘The Gramercy Park Hotel was a great resource and it’s a shame that it’s no longer open,’ Hartley told the outlet. ‘The hotel was really known as a creative space.’

A Manhattan art collector, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Post that Rosen was ‘a philistine’ for not going the extra mile and fighting for the hotel to remain operating.  

‘He takes landmarks and he ruins them. He takes the soul of marquee buildings,’  the art collector said.  

In The Sixties, The Rolling Stones Resided There After Their First American Tour, And Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Clash And Bob Marley Were All Known To Spend Time In The Nyc Hotel

In the sixties, the Rolling Stones resided there after their first American tour, and Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Clash and Bob Marley were all known to spend time in the NYC Hotel

A Manhattan Art Collector, Who Preferred To Remain Anonymous, Told The Post That Rosen Was 'A Philistine' For Not Going The Extra Mile And Fighting For The Hotel To Remain Operating

A Manhattan art collector, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Post that Rosen was ‘a philistine’ for not going the extra mile and fighting for the hotel to remain operating

Pete Shelley (Left) With The Writer C.p. Lee At The Gramercy Park Hot

Pete Shelley (left) with the writer C.P. Lee at the Gramercy Park Hot

In The Lobby Of New York'S Gramercy Park Hotel, Guests Could Find Exhibited 20Th Century Masterpieces By Artists Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Richard Prince, Keith Haring, And Of Course, Julian Schnabe. Its Future Remains Uncertain

In the lobby of New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel, guests could find exhibited 20th century masterpieces by artists Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Richard Prince, Keith Haring, and of course, Julian Schnabe. Its future remains uncertain 

Debbie Harry Of American Punk Band 'Blondie' On The Roof Of The Gramercy Park Hotel New York In 1978. The Pandemic Might'Ve Been The Catalyst Of The Hotel'S Demise, But Landlord Solil Management Claimed In Court The Hotel Was 'Unkempt' Under The Management Of Rosen'S Rfr

Debbie Harry of American Punk band ‘Blondie’ on the roof of the Gramercy Park Hotel New York in 1978. The pandemic might’ve been the catalyst of the hotel’s demise, but Landlord Solil Management claimed in court the hotel was ‘unkempt’ under the management of Rosen’s RFR

The Website Describes The Hotel As A Place For Actors, Artists, Writers, Intellectuals And Fashion Designers. The Hotel, Which Has A Selective Entrance To Manhattan'S Only Private Park, Served For Decades As A Discrete Spot For The Elite'S Wild Parties And Gatherings

The website describes the hotel as a place for actors, artists, writers, intellectuals and fashion designers. The hotel, which has a selective entrance to Manhattan’s only private park, served for decades as a discrete spot for the elite’s wild parties and gatherings

Bar And Cocktail Room At The Hotel Gramercy Park. The Gramercy Was Once Described As The Only Hotel In New York Where Musicians Could Ask For A Guitar String From Room Service Or Cocaine 'Like A Pepperoni Pizza'

Bar and cocktail room at the Hotel Gramercy Park. The Gramercy was once described as the only hotel in New York where musicians could ask for a guitar string from room service or cocaine ‘like a pepperoni pizza’

An Exterior View Of The Gramercy Park Hotel In New York

An exterior view of the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York

The Gramercy was first established in 1924 when developers Bing and Bing purchased the residence of architect Stanford White, birthplace of aristocrat American novelist Edith Wharton. 

The westward extension of the hotel, which runs along Gramercy Park North, was then constructed between 1929 to 1930 by the architectural firm of Thompson and Churchill. 

The first of many stories for the books came early in the hotel’s history when in 1926, screen legend Humphrey Bogart married stage actress Helen Menken.

Although it was a short lived marriage, it was celebrated in a lavish and sumptuous way on the rooftop of the hotel. 

The Gramercy was home for Joseph Kennedy and his would-be president son John Fitzgerald Kennedy for the months before the patriarch took an ambassadorship position in London in 1938. 

It was also the Rolling Stones’ first home in America when they toured the country for the first time in 1964. 

In 1966, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designating Gramercy Park as a historic district. 

In The Nearly 100 Years Of The Gramercy'S History, The Flamboyant Hotel Has Been Home To Scholars Such As 'Hero Of American Consciousness' Timothy Leary (Center) And 11-Year-Old, Future President John F Kennedy

In the nearly 100 years of the Gramercy’s history, the flamboyant hotel has been home to scholars such as ‘hero of American consciousness’ Timothy Leary (center) and 11-year-old, future president John F Kennedy

The Gramercy Housed The Upper Manhattan Class And Groupies Who Would Visit Rock Stars, And Everything In Between In Its Now 190 Guests Rooms

The Gramercy housed the upper Manhattan class and groupies who would visit rock stars, and everything in between in its now 190 guests rooms

Lady Gaga Performs At The Gramercy Park Hotel May 2018

Lady Gaga Performs at the Gramercy Park Hotel May 2018

Klaus Voormann, John Mayall, Joni Mitchell, Photographer/Editor Debby Chesher And Commander Cody During The Promotion For The 'Starart' Book That Included Art Works By Them And Other Musicians At The Gramercy Park Hotel In New York City On December 12, 1979

Klaus Voormann, John Mayall, Joni Mitchell, photographer/editor Debby Chesher and Commander Cody during the promotion for the ‘Starart’ book that included art works by them and other musicians at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City on December 12, 1979

The Gramercy has surely seen brighter, crazier, more glamorous days.

The website describes the hotel as a place for actors, artists, writers, intellectuals and fashion designers. The hotel, which has a selective entrance to Manhattan’s only private park, served for decades as a discrete spot for the elite’s wild parties and gatherings.   

After David Bowie’s label denied to book him at the more expensive Plaza Hotel citing concerns that his tour would be a loss of money, he stayed at the Gramercy for two weeks in 1973, paving the way for the rockstar-friendly reputation the hotel would earn within the following years. 

Also in the seventies, Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein lived in room 501.

Filmmaker Max Weissberg, whose grandfather bought the hotel in 1958 and ran it until near the end of his life, once described the Gramercy as the only hotel in New York where musicians could ask for a guitar string from room service or cocaine ‘like a pepperoni pizza’. 

When Rosen and fellow hotelier Ian Schrager took over the Gramercy in 2006, the hotel went through major renovation that would transform it into the grand, unique destination it was before it closed in 2020.   

Celebrities of the likes of Lady Gaga, Kanye, Beyonce, Daniel Craig and Rihanna are among the ‘guests, revelers or performers,’ who have visited the Gramercy. 

But Rosen’s reported disregard and apathy for all things art and culture might mark the end of one of New York’s biggest building legacies. 

After David Bowie'S Label Denied To Book Him At The More Expensive Plaza Hotel Citing Concerns That His Tour Would Be A Loss Of Money, He Stayed At The Gramercy For Two Weeks In 1973, Paving The Way For The Rockstar-Friendly Reputation The Hotel Would Earn Within The Following Years

The Walls That Witnessed Gonzo Journalist Hunter S. Thompson'S Crazed Drug Orgies Might Not Come Back To The Public

After David Bowie’s label denied to book him at the more expensive Plaza Hotel citing concerns that his tour would be a loss of money, he stayed at the Gramercy for two weeks in 1973, paving the way for the rockstar-friendly reputation the hotel would earn within the following years. Now, the walls that witnessed gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s crazed drug orgies might not come back to the public

The Stately New York Hotel, Designed By Robert T. Lyons And Constructed By Famous Developer Brothers Bing And Bing, Was Built On The Site Where Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist Edith Wharton Was Born

The stately New York Hotel, designed by Robert T. Lyons and constructed by famous developer brothers Bing and Bing, was built on the site where Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edith Wharton was born

Rosen'S Reported Disregard And Apathy For All Things Art And Culture Might Mark The End Of One Of New York'S Biggest Building Legacies, Which Has A Selective Entrance To Manhattan'S Only Private Park

Rosen’s reported disregard and apathy for all things art and culture might mark the end of one of New York’s biggest building legacies, which has a selective entrance to Manhattan’s only private park

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