Monday, September 2, 2019

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt Suite in the Vanderbilt Hotel

December 20, 1911
It Will Consist of the Two Top Floors of the Vanderbilt Hotel.

Vanderbilt Hotel -- Park Avenue and 34th Street
Daytonian in Manhattan

Alfred G. Vanderbilt will make his home upon his return in the most luxurious "apartment" ever designed as a private home. It will consist of the two top floors of the new Vanderbilt Hotel, Park Avenue and Thirty-fourth Street. It has been estimated that similar accommodations, reckoned upon a floor-space basis, would cost approximately $40,000 a year(over a million today), not including meals.

The main dining hall is two stories in height and occupies the space of four rooms. It can be altered, by a special arrangement of doors, to make either a small informal dining room or a large room for elaborate dinners. Bedrooms, breakfast room, and tearoom are from two to four times the size of ordinary rooms of similar character.

From, the windows Eastward in clear weather can be seen the buildings of Coney Island, and even the sea beyond, while to the west one can see far beyond the Hudson.

The entrance hall to the Vanderbilt suite was designed and built as though it were for a private dwelling.

Views of the Home of the Women’s City Club of New York, formerly the town residence of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred G. Vanderbilt, in the Vanderbilt Hotel. New York Tribune January 2, 1916

From the street to the living room of the Vanderbilt suite was like going from asphalt to asphodel. Photograph shows living room corner.

Another view of the living room in the Alfred G, Vanderbilt suite in the Vanderbilt Hotel.

The Vanderbilt suite in the Vanderbilt Hotel was the equivalent of a complete town house. Photograph shows a part of the breakfast room.

Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt had in their hotel apartments a library as complete as that of a private house. Photograph shows part of the Vanderbilt suite library.

Alfred G. Vanderbilt's bedroom in the Vanderbilt suite. He left this room to sail on the Lusitania. He went down with the torpedoed ship after seeing that his wife(no, not his wife) and other women passengers were safe, in lifeboats.

In these apartments the youngest son of the man who perished on the Lusitania was born. They will be remodeled to suit the needs of the club. These are the first photographs ever published of the rooms occupied by Alfred G. Vanderbilt in the hotel which bears his name.

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt

Alfred Vanderbilt occupied the top two floors as a residence for his family. The New-York Tribune noted that the Vanderbilt Suite was “the equivalent of a complete town house”. He occupied the space with his wife, two sons and a staff of servants. In April 1915, Vanderbilt and his valet boarded the RMS Lusitania for a trip to London.

The night before sailing, Alfred and Margaret saw the Broadway play A Celebrated Case, coproduced by David Belasco and fellow Lusitania passenger Charles Frohman. The following morning, the Vanderbilts awoke to find a startling notice in the local newspapers. Framed in black, a warning from the Imperial German Embassy reminded travelers that a state of war existed between Germany and Great Britain and anyone sailing on a ship flying the English flag “do so at their own risk."

The New York Tribune May 1,1915 

The Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sunk. It was later reported that Alfred Vanderbilt removed his lifejacket and personally strapped it on to a mother holding an infant. Unable to swim, his act of heroism sealed his own doom. 

He left behind three sons: (by his first wife) William Henry Vanderbilt III, a future banker and governor of Rhode Island; and (by his second wife) Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt II, whose three own surviving sons would be the only members of the vast sixth generation of the "Commodore’s" descendants to carry on the family surname, and George Washington Vanderbilt III, a future explorer and big-game hunter.

Women’s City Club of New York

Vanderbilt’s apartment was taken over by the Women’s City Club of New York whose politically active members come to hear guests like George Kirchwey, Warden of Sing Sing prison. 

The renowned tenor Enrico Caruso later occupied the Vanderbilt suite and lived there until August 1921 when he died on a trip to Naples, Italy.

Manger Vanderbilt Park Avenue at east 34th street 600 outside rooms with bath and radio many Air conditioned - television. 1959

In 1941, the hotel was purchased from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company by the Manger Corporation and renamed the Manger Vanderbilt. Manger operated the Vanderbilt through the 1964 New York Worlds Fair but then closed the hotel. It was sold for $3,625 million to an investment group headed by real estate investor John E. Marqusee who converted the first six floors into offices and its upper floors into apartments.

Streetscapes/March 9, 2003The Former Vanderbilt Hotel, 34th Street and Park Avenue; It Was a Showcase for Terra Cotta. Much Remains.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.