Headed north along Park Avenue, we are taking our time pretending not to gape too much at Manhattan’s splendid Art Deco architecture. Unsuccessfully. I feel I went to sleep and woke up in Gotham City – misty, dark, strangely compelling.
We found the legendary Waldorf Astoria, walked under the fan-shaped canopy of the Four Seasons, and finally turned left, towards Fifth Avenue. The Sherry Netherland! If this is a dream, please don’t let me wake up… I push the heavy revolving doors. Seven Boys with Plumes and Six Girls with Musical Theme – delicate children of Karl Bitter curved in limestone – play their greeting song just for us.
The welcoming lobby oozing elegance and serious old money, as old and as serious as money can be in the New World. A friendly concierge, who has seen it all before, smiles at my astonishment as I gaze at the glorious renaissance frescoes on the vaulted ceilings.
– ”You know, they were hidden under eleven coats of paint until discovered – purely accidentally – due to a leakage”, he offers. ”Restoration began soon after, all residents agreed to chip in; it is going very well, we expect the works will be completed soon”.
– ”What an incredible building!” I marvel out loud.
– ”Part of it operates as a hotel but the top floors are private residences. Francis Ford Coppola and Diana Ross have apartments here”…
What about Bruce Wayne? I think to myself. There are enough gargoyles and chimeras on the roof of the top-floor penthouse to make Gotham’s most eligible bachelor feel at home.
Tip: Don’t leave Manhattan without visiting the Sherry Netherland. The frescoes are now fully restored and visitors are welcome to walk inside the lobby. Once there, you could also ask the concierge to show you the elevators. Hand painted, wood-paneled with their brass details shined to perfection, they are the ultimate luxury – precious as the marvelous frescoes.
As a general rule, photography is tolerated in main lobbies of all similar hotel/residence/office establishments – except in elevators, for reasons of safety.
Images by Konstantinos Implikian
New York, 05 June 2014