Clambering out of our 17th floor bedroom window and on to a narrow, iron-railed balcony for postcard-picture views of boats gliding gently down the Hudson River between a clutch of skyscrapers was one of the highlights of a recent stay at New York’s Edison Hotel.
Located around the corner from Times Square, this art-deco inspired, 810-room property dating from 1931 offers glimpses into the old-world of the Big Apple and was specially named after the legendary inventor who obliged by turning on the lights when it first opened, via remote control from his home in New Jersey.
So atmospheric is Hotel Edison, movie-makers have been keen to use it, with scenes from ‘The Godfather’ when Luca Brasi, ex-wrestler and ex-bodyguard for the Colombo crime family, steps in the back door from 46th Street and proceeds up the mirrored hallway with shiny brass railings, as well as ‘Sex and The City,’ shot there. The reception lobby emphasizes the art deco motif with murals of New York City in that era’s heyday, featuring famed baseball player Joe Dimaggio, jazz singer and bandleader Cab Calloway and dance group, The Rockettes.
Not only is the hotel a mere few minutes’ walk from the Times Square-42nd Street subway station, it is also close to many Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters, as well as Bryant Park, Time Warner Center, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Fifth Avenue stores. Even Radio City Music Hall is but a mile away. But entertainment is even closer at hand, in ‘The Rum House,’ the hotel’s ground-floor bar owned by Kenneth McCoy into which actor Michael Keaton stops in for a few drinks in the movie ‘Birdman.’ While there one Saturday night, we were regaled by a dynamic jazz quartet, ‘Mimi and The Pod Brothers,’ while sipping signature cocktails concocted by mixologist from Colombia, Abel Rodriquez such as ‘Tortuga,’ that included 8-year-old E. Doradao rum, cinnamon 14 and citrus and fresh ginger, or other similarly potent variations such as ‘Dark and Stormy,’ and ‘Home Away from Home.’ So popular a haunt is ‘The Rum House’ such celebrities as Bill Murray and Mathew Broderick have popped in for music sessions.
Owned by Triumph Hotels, which has seven Manhattan properties under the control of President and CEO Shimmie Horn, and constructed by architect, Herbert J. Krapp, the Edison’s design helped usher in the city’s art deco era. Its ballroom is particularly noteworthy, carrying a long and colorful history, its architecture dating back to its days as a dancing and dining venue when it hosted famous performers of the ‘Swing Era.’ After a multi-million-dollar renovation it caters up to 1,000 guests for a buffet/cocktail reception and 500 seated banquet-style sit-down dinner and hosts events of all kinds, from weddings to business conferences and charity galas.
Our accommodation, 1715, a signature suite with terrace, was recently renovated and comprised three-rooms, including bathroom. Ample natural light poured in from three windows in the living-room, with furnishings consisting of a large gray sofa, bright yellow armchair, wall television, hideaway closet, coffee-maker, chrome framed chair with desk and flat-white coffee-table. We padded around on thick carpeted floors. The bathroom, which was separated from the bedroom by a sliding door, featured a spacious shower and marble floor.
As added services to guests, the Hotel Edison offers complimentary neighborhood walking tours, as well as a wine and cheese ‘manager’s reception’ every Tuesday and Friday. It also has valet parking and a 24-hour business lounge and fitness center.
If you are fond of art deco and like to be in the heart of New York cultural action, then Hotel Edison should be your choice.