Grace Kelly Slept Here: The Barbizon Hotel for Women Flirts With Landmark Status 30 Years After Its Demise
By Terry Trucco
New York boasts no shortage of thriving historic hotels, from the Pierre and the Algonquin to the Waldorf=Astoria. But the casualties on the ghost list can be almost as noteworthy, even on occasion, newsworthy.
Consider the fabled Barbizon Hotel for Women. An up-market version of the Footlights Club in Stage Door, the city’s premiere single-sex hotel flourished through the mid 20th century as the ultimate career girl sorority house where anxious parents parked white-gloved daughters aspiring to be models, actresses, writers and secretaries.
Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly, Candice Bergen and Liza Minelli stayed here. So did Ann Beattie, Mona Simpson and Joan Didion. Sylvia Plath, another alum, dubbed the place the Amazon and gave it a starring role in her novel The Bell Jar.
And now, 30 years after the one-time “Residence Club for Professional Women” became a conventional hotel accepting women and men, and six years after it was reborn as Barbizon 63, a luxury condominium, the building is in the news. Following a hearing in late July, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is reviewing a request to grant the Barbizon landmark status. (more…)