Old New York In Photos #72 – Hotel Netherland circa 1912

The Hotel Netherland Fifth Avenue and 59th Street c. 1912

Located at 783 Fifth Avenue on the corner of 59th Street, the Hotel New Netherlands, was built by the Astor estate under William Waldorf Astor and leased by General Ferdinand P. Earle. For 33 years it was one of the finest of New York’s hostelries.

After the Hotel New Netherlands opened on June 1, 1893, a guide book noted the new hotel’s room rates as “unannounced, but among the most expensive.”

The New Netherlands was on the European plan, which meant you didn’t necessarily have to have your meals at the hotel, but you could eat there for an extra charge.

For a comparison the most expensive New York hotels on the European plan; the Normandie; Vendome; Brunswick; and Gilsey had rooms starting at $2.00 per night. the Waldorf was $2.50 per night. On the American plan with meals included, the Windsor was $6.00 and the Savoy was $4.50. The only other hotels besides the New Netherlands that did not list their prices were the Grenoble and the Plaza.

Architect William Hume designed what was at the time the tallest hotel in the world at 17 stories and 229 feet. The hotel had a fine panoramic view of the city. The seemingly endless green expanse of Central Park was directly across the street.  From the higher floors looking past the park you could see the Hudson River and looking southeast was a clear view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

It’s an interesting design and as you look up at the ornate hotel you will notice a hodgepodge of styles.

The hotel was renamed in 1908 as the Hotel Netherland. Later it was the home to the famous Louis Sherry’s restaurant from 1919-1925. When the hotel closed in 1925, it was soon demolished and replaced by the 35 story Sherry-Netherland Hotel in 1927.  The address of the new hotel was changed to 781 Fifth Avenue.

The exact year our photograph by the Detroit Publishing Company is not certain. It probably falls between 1912 -1914 based upon the vehicles in the street. A look at the scene around the hotel shows a bustling metropolis in action. Examining the details is always interesting, you can click on any photo below to enlarge.

The Hotel Netherland’s advertising sign and roof line are quite a sight. The turret is absolutely great. Some of the hotel’s windows are open with curtains parted to let in light on this sunny day.

On the corner of the Netherland are these fantastic light fixtures.

The building which stood next door to the Netherland at 785 Fifth Avenue was Park and Tilford. They were a grocery store that catered to the well to do.

Although the sign above its entrance can only be partially seen, the Hotel Savoy on the southeast corner of 59th Street stood opposite the Hotel Netherland. The Hotel Savoy was built in 1891-1892 and demolished in 1925-1926. Its replacement the Savoy Plaza Hotel was demolished in 1966.

Travelling north on Fifth Avenue and just passing the Hotel Netherland is the horse drawn delivery wagon of Ferdinand Mayer, butcher.

A motorized delivery truck for Ward’s Tip Top Bread makes its way north up Fifth Avenue. Owner Robert Boyd Ward founded baseball’s Brooklyn Tip-Tops who played in the short lived Federal League from 1914-1915.

A crowded double deck Fifth Avenue motorized bus makes its way south on Fifth Avenue as the policeman stands behind the bus directing traffic. The sign on the bus tells you the fare is ten cents and the other sign above the fare sign is for The Menagerie, which was the name of the Central Park Zoo.

Finally, even though there is a delivery wagon turning on to 59th Street, it is safe for this mother pushing a baby carriage and her daughter to cross the street.  Were they heading to Central Park and the Menagerie?

6 thoughts on “Old New York In Photos #72 – Hotel Netherland circa 1912

  1. David

    >> The hotel was renamed in 1908 as the Hotel Netherland

    This is incorrect. At least as far back as 1905 the building had HOTEL NETHERLAND signage on the roof. Numerous photo postcards with 1905 cancellation dates as well as a Detroit Photographic glass negative with 1905 copyright date will attest to this.


    1. B.P. Post author

      Thank you for your input on the name.

      I did something I almost never do – consulted wikipedia as a source (dumb) and assumed it was correct (dumber). I was unable to locate an official renaming announcement. Although I will say The New York Tribune still referred to the hotel as the New Netherland as late as 1907. My guess is somewhere around 1896 the hotel dropped the “New” from the name. It then took a few years to stick.

  2. Eveline salario

    Hi, if you search for “Witte huis rotterdam” wich means (white house rotterdam) you will see why this hotel was so great. I recognized it.


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