MIDTOWN — The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to designate interior portions of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel a city landmark — days after it closed for renovations to become high-end condos, a spokeswoman for the agency said.
The decision was aimed at protecting some of the most iconic parts of the hotel, including areas on the ground, first, second, and third floors, according to LPC Chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan.
"The Waldorf Astoria Hotel has some of the most internationally renowned rooms in all of New York City," Srinivasan said in a statement. "Today's action not only protects the rich and beautifully detailed art-deco features of the hotel’s interior public spaces, it also preserves the unique experience of moving through the hotel’s varied interiors, which countless New Yorkers and visitors have enjoyed for more than eight decades."
According to an LPC spokeswoman, the landmarked areas include:
► The vestibules and foyer of the Park Avenue entrance
► Lexington Avenue vestibules and foyer
► The East Arcade
► The Lexington Avenue stairs and landing on second and third floors
► Basildon Room, Jade Room, Astor Gallery, foyer connecting the Jade Gallery and Astor Gallery with the Lexington Avenue stairs
► First floor interior of the Park Avenue Lobby and colonnade
► West Lounge (formerly Peacock Alley)
► West Elevator Lobby, Main Lobby, Main Lobby Hall
► Grand Ballroom and balconies, Ballroom Entrance Hall (formerly Silver Gallery), Ballroom Foyer
► Fixtures and decorations of these interiors, including but not limited to the wall surfaces, murals, mirrors, ceiling surfaces and floor surfaces, exterior elevator doors and grilles, chandeliers, lighting fixtures, attached furnishings, doors, and metalwork.
The designation, which is pending the approval of the City Council, came on the heels of the closure of the Waldorf Astoria for an extensive round of renovations that will transform more than a third of its 1,413 rooms into private luxury condominiums. The hotel closed last week and will remain shuttered for two to three years, according to its owner, the Chinese insurance giant Anbang.
Anbang, which bought the hotel in 2014 and leased operation duties back to former owner Hilton Worldwide, has long expressed its support for the landmarking of the interiors, and pledged to leave the designated interiors out of its renovation plans.
"Anbang knows the Waldorf's history is a large part of what makes this hotel so unforgettable," the firm said in a statement. "That is why we fully supported the Commission’s recommendations for designation of the Waldorf Astoria’s most important public spaces and applaud the Commission on achieving landmark status for them."
Because interiors tend to see more alteration over time than building exteriors, and because they are typically less accessible to the public than building exteriors, they often face a more uphill battle to get landmark status.
But in the past year several notable interiors, including the Waldorf and the glassy, mirrored interior of the Ambassador Grill at One UN New York Hotel, have gotten the nod from the LPC.