The History of Hotel Chandler's Neighborhoods

April 22 2015 | Culture

Hotel Chandler is located at the heart of Manhattan bordering three historic New York City neighborhoods: Murray Hill, the Flatiron and the NoMad District.

Murray Hill derives its name from the Murray family, 18th-century Quaker merchants mainly concerned with shipping and overseas trade. The Murrays rented land from the city for a great house and farm. His great house, which he named Inclenberg (or Belmont), but which was popularly termed Murray Hill, was built on a since-leveled hill at what is today Park Avenue and 36th Street. During the 19th century, this neighborhood was “uptown” with the city ending with the reservoir at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street covering what today is the New York Public Library and Bryant Park. To the north was for the most part farmland. In the bitter winter of 1808 during the embargo that closed New York harbor, an innovative work relief program kept out-of-work dock workers busy reducing the height of Murray Hill; between twenty and forty feet were sliced off its summit and used for fill. In mid-century the rich, temporarily, and the upper middle class more permanently filled the brownstone row houses that filled Murray Hill’s streets. Stylish merchandising began to change the neighborhood; Madison Square Park, at this time considered a part of Murray Hill, was bordered by the fashionable ladies’ shops of the day on Fifth Avenue. For much of the 20th century, the neighborhood was a quiet and rather formal place, with many wealthy older residents. Since the late 1990s, many upper-class young professionals in their twenties and thirties have begun to move into the area. Though housing in the neighborhood is slightly cheaper than in fashionable nearby parts of Manhattan, prices for apartments here rose a great deal during the boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s—as much as 500 percent in a decade.

The Flatiron District is named after the Flatiron building bordering the southwest side of Madison Square Park. The Flatiron district is located between 20th Street, Union Square and Greenwich Village to the south; Chelsea to the west and Gramercy Park to the east. The Flatiron District is the only Manhattan neighborhood to be named after a building. The Flatiron Building, a National Historic Landmark, triangular 22-story skyscraper was built in 1902 by Danil Burnham and is most famous for its combination of French and Italian Renaissance architecture and ornate terracotta façade. The building led to the growth of the neighborhood and the “Ladies Mile”, which was the popular upscale shopping district of the Gilded Age and early 1900s. Nowadays the area has been transformed into one of upscale restaurants and theaters.

The NoMad District is centered, and named, for its location north of Madison Square Park. The neighborhood extends from 25th Street to 30th Street between the Avenue of the Americas and Lexington Avenue. New Yorkers began establishing residences in private brownstone dwellings and mansions around Madison Square Park in the mid-nineteenth century. The area became a meeting place for the Gilded Age elite, and a late-nineteenth century mecca for shoppers, tourists and after-theater restaurant patrons. A commercial boom followed with the growth of hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and office buildings, many of which are still standing. In the late nineteenth century the area was dubbed Tin Pan Alley thanks to the collection of music publishers and songwriters there who dominated the American commercial music world of the time. The massive 2001 park restoration project, spearheaded by the Madison Square Park Conservancy spurred a transformation of the neighborhoods around the park- The Flatiron District, Rose Hill and NoMad—from primarily commercial to places attractive for residences upscale business and trendy restaurants and nightspots.

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