New York Architecture Images- Gone / Demolished / Destroyed

Drake Hotel




50 E. 57th St.


1926 – 2007


Historicist Skyscrapers


Macklowe; building razed, empty lot, in limbo. Steel frame, masonry cladding.





Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel was a hotel located at Park Avenue and 56th Street, New York, NY.

The hotel was built in 1926 by the real estate organization of Bing and Bing. It was a 21 floor complex with 495 rooms. "It boasted innovations such as automatic refrigeration as well as spacious, luxurious rooms and suites." Fauchon chocolates was located on the ground floor.

Silent film star Lillian Gish lived at the hotel from 1946-1949. Other notable guests included Frank Sinatra, Muhammed Ali, Judy Garland, and Glenn Gould. Restauranteur Toots Shor lived there in his final years. Songwriter Jerome Kern collapsed on the sidewalk in front of the Drake on November 5, 1945.

In the 1960s and 1970s the Drake Hotel was the preferred accommodation in New York for a number of touring rock bands, such as Led Zeppelin and The Who. During their stay there in 1973, Led Zeppelin had $180,000 stolen from a safe deposit box at the hotel. The money was never recovered and the identity of the thief or thieves has never been discovered. The band later sued the Drake Hotel for the theft. In an episode of NBC's Today Show from the mid-1960s, Shepheard's Club at The Drake Hotel was featured in a segment with Barbara Walters. Shepheard's was touted as the most fashionable nightclub of the time, where people like Lee Radziwill and Julie Newmar danced The Frug to a live disc jockey.

The hotel was acquired in the early 1980s by the Swissotel company of Zurich, which undertook a $52 million room-by-room renovation of the building. Renovations were completed in 1991. In 2006 the hotel was sold for $440 million to developer Harry Macklowe. It was demolished in 2007. The site became one of New York's most valuable development sites in 2011.