Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rizzoli building to get a "Seven-Star Hotel"

Vornado Realty Trust and the LeFrak Organization plan to build a “seven-star hotel” on the site of iconic Rizzoli Bookstore, Vornado CEO Steven Roth said at a panel talk today.The developers filed plans in May to demolish the bookstore at 31 West 57th Street. It was reported at the time that high-rise condominiums would rise on the site, but instead, Roth said, it will be a commercial use. Vornado’s priorities have largely been retail and office development in recent years.After 29 years, the bookstore closed in April, but is set to reopen in NoMad next year, reports said.Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer had rallied for the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the property a landmark, but the commission denied the bid. [WSJ] — Mark Maurer

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Multiple sources are speculating that JPMorgan could be the one that Steve Roth is looking for. As you remember Mr. Roth stated in the company's second quarter conference call, that the plans for 15 Penn Plaza have been erected again, and although he could not say who he has had"..interesting offers" for the site.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

VNO Talks about the future of the Hotel in 2nd quarter earnings conference call

Vornado posted their 2nd Quarter earnings, and held a conference call to discuss. No word on Steve Roth's retirement, but they did cover the current state of the renovations of the Hotel Pennsylvania (currently on hold). Mr. Roth talks about it at time index 1:13:00. "So we are going down 2 paths. One path is the renovation of the hotel, which will drive more income and improve the neighborhood, and the second is putting our big toe into the marketplace to explore the opportunity to land a major anchor tenant for the site and the Penn Plaza district." Roth stated.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Call for Landmark Reform

@galebrewer @saverizzoli @savenypl @BilldeBlasio

Demand a call for Landmark law reform.  NYC buildings should be protected from developers during the evaluation process.  From the application process to the decision.

What happened to the Rizzoli building can not happen to another building.  The time for wait it over, contact the NYC council now, tell them you want landmark reform.  Say no to destroying NYC historical buildings.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lend your support for Rizzoli

"On Friday, Rizzoli Bookstore will be forced to close its doors after 29 years in the six-story architectural gem located at 31 West 57th Street."  

“The Save Rizzoli Committee” wrote these words this morning. Such words should never have to ever have been written.  The NYC Government's Landmark Preservation Commission, failed to do its job.  Instead of allowing this beautiful piece of history to be saved; they instead snubbed their collective noses at it.  "But why", you may ask.  It's because they dragged their feet for almost 7 years, while lining their pockets from big developers such as Vornado, and Bloomberg.

But the fight is not over! The Landmarks Preservation Commission is currently evaluating whether the interior of Rizzoli Bookstore warrants interior landmark designation. A process that if successful will sadly one protect the interior of the building and add it to the most prestigious of all landmark status'.  However it would still allow the owners to virtually demolish the beautiful exterior. (You can read about the interior on the Save Rizzoli website.)

We can not continue to stand by and let the developers destroy not only what is left of NYC's beautiful architectural history, but the individuals who work at the buildings that are being put out of a job as well.  The employees of the historic Rizzoli Bookstore will all be among the growing NYC unemployment due to the blatant greed of Vornado and LeFrak.

In unity with those losing their jobs and in recognition of a city losing an important piece of our cultural history, Community Board Five is calling for a rally of support. We would like to encourage everyone to attend.

This rally will be held Friday April 11th at 10:00 A.M. in front of Rizzoli Bookstore

Let us all show the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the press that we the people will not let, and can not let the city to continue to allow the demolition of historic buildings to go unchecked. If you care about NYC history, and care about what goes on in your neighborhood, then we must all band together.  Invite your friends and everyone you know who cares about great architecture, bookstores, and the future of our city. Get the word out on Facebook and Twitter. Let's show the LPC and media how much beautiful bookstores matter!

Saturday, April 5, 2014



Yet again the city’s shortsightedness will cause another historic building to suffer.  The NYPL has plans to gut the beautiful and historic Midtown Public Library on 42nd and 5th.  A quote from Mayor de Blasio:
“I am calling on the City to halt the New York Public Library’s plans at the Central Library, and for a thorough, independent cost audit and review of the proposed project…This review should evaluate the complete financial risks associated with the current plan, and seriously consider alternative ways to use City funds to ensure the preservation of the NYPL’s valuable collection stored at the Central Library and preserve the Mid-Manhattan branch as a functioning library.”
– NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio during his campaign, July 12th, 2013
As usual when the city and developers don’t want things known to the public they hold private meetings behind closed doors, in this case they created a plan through a closed process with no public advice, or say.
Lets stop the madness!  We urge you to please visit

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rally Outside of Rizzoli Tomorrow! | Help Save Rizzoli

For those of you who have not been following the tragedy of the Rizzoli Bookstore, we need to help them as much as possible!!!

Borough President Gale Brewer and preservationists to call on City Landmarks Commission to reverse stand on Rizzoli bookstore, reform landmarks process to prevent destruction of significant public buildings
On Friday April 4, in front of the historic Rizzoli bookstore at 31 West 57th Street, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and leading preservationists will call on the Landmarks Preservation Commission to reverse their rejection of landmark status for the Rizzoli Bookstore building and ask for an immediate consideration of landmark status for other notable buildings on W. 57th between Fifth Avenue and Eighth Avenue. All are welcome to attend!
Friday, April 4, 2014, 12 Noon–1 PM
Outside 31 West 57th Street, rain or shine
Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
Peg Breen, New York Landmarks Conservancy
Andrea Goldwyn, New York Landmarks Conservancy
Simeon Bankoff, Historic Districts Council
Signers of the petition

Thursday, March 27, 2014


We ask all of you to please do what you can to help save the iconic Rizzoli Bookstore building and its neighbors from demolition by Vornado.  Please visit
As we mentioned before this building clearly qualifies as a landmark, yet the LPC denied its request, despite support from the Community board, and the MBPO.  And to the amazement of everyone the LPC refuses to give an answer as to why it was denied.
If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for our future.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

LPC Says “No” to another Vornado building.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will not give last-minute protection to the Rizzoli Bookstore, the century-old building will be demolished by it’s current owners Vornado Realty Trust.
The LPC’s decision came when community outrage about the demolition of the 57th Street building, which Vornado plan to tear down along with two other buildings.
“After a careful review, the Commission determined the building does not meet the criteria for individual landmark designation…” LPC spokeswoman Damaris Olivo said.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer wrote a letter urging the commission to hold a public hearing to consider landmarking the building’s interior and exterior in the hopes of protecting it.  MBPO’s office had filed a formal request to have the building landmarked on March 21.
Vornado declined to comment on this.
According to DOB Records, no demolition permit has been filed as of yet.
The 109-year-old building at 31 W. 57th St. is renowned for its “architectural richness and diversity”  Brewer wrote in her letter to LPC on Tuesday.
The bookstore was originally a showroom for the Sohmer Piano Company and was designed in the French Classical style by architect Randolph Amiroty. The LPC has already recognized another building on the so-called Piano Row of current and former piano showrooms, giving protection to the nearby Steinway Hall in 2001.
This is not the first time that officials have pushed to give landmark status to a Vornado building. In 2007, Community Board 5 requested that the Hotel Penn receive protection, but was denied by the LPC.

Monday, March 10, 2014

NYC Council are off the rails at the Moynihan Station development.

City Council member Corey Johnson, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Hell’s Kitchen residents are worried that the sale of air rights for the Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust’s Moynihan Station redevelopment site could spur overdevelopment.

Johnson and Brewer criticized the Empire State Development Corporation’s efforts to sell 1.5 million square feet of air rights over the alleged lack of transparency. The intention to sell is part of renewed plans to expand New York Penn Station into the James A. Farley post office building. The post office, at 421 Eighth Avenue, would serve as a waiting room for Amtrak passengers.

“The RFP (for a broker) came as an unwelcome surprise to us,” Johnson and Brewer wrote in a letter last week. “We had not been given notice of the timetable for or any indication of a plan or policy to guide the sale of the Farley air rights. … As representatives of this area, we share our community’s concern about significantly increasing density in the immediate area surrounding the station.” [DNAinfo] — Mark Maurer

via Moynihan Station Port Authority | Gale Brewer NYC.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Steve Roth talks about the plans for "renovating" the Hotel Penn

During Vornado's 4th Quarter conference call, Jamie Feldman, a REIT Equity Research Analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, asked the million dollar question to Mr. Roth. 

Q: " should we think about Hotel Penn? Do you think you keep it hotel? Or is it too early to tell?"

Mr. Roth replied:

A: "The answer is, while we are zoned for a 3-million-foot tower -- a financial services headquarters tower, and as I tell my children, you have to look at the deals that almost happened, so that was a deal that almost happened when we were -- we had 2 huge investment banks on that at one time. In any event, the -- it looks to me like the math does not support a tower today. We are nothing if not realistic, and our plan is -- I wanted to say our current plan, I'm going take out the word "current." Our plan is to redevelop the Hotel Pennsylvania. Our objective there is multiples. Number one, we own that building for -- in the low hundreds of millions of dollars. It's worth 6x that or more. So our first objective is to get the hotel to be an asset to the neighborhood, not so much to make money in the hotel but to improve the neighborhood so that the value of our 7 million square feet of surrounding office space goes up. So that means we have to focus very hard on the lobby experience, on the hotel -- on the restaurant experience, the nightlife experience, what have you in that. The second is to make money on the hotel. And we believe every dollar that we put into that hotel in terms of renovation will be rewarded with very, very significant double-digit financial returns. Our third objective is to harvest some of the capital that we have in that building because the building is worth a lot of money, will become worth a lot more, and we have no debt on it and what have you. So that's our financial objective and our environmental objective, if you will, with respect to the hotel."

With that two things come to mind:

1. The plans for the office tower, have not been scrapped, just temporarily sidelined?

2. What two investment banks were "on" at that time?

The above transcript was taken from

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Site, New Ideas!

We decided to go a new route with the launch of the new site.  We are going to use it for new and exiting features, and breaking news.  Naturally we will still post here as needed, but now you have two great place to get your Hotel Penn news!  As always as we expand we are looking for new people to help join our crusade.  If you think you got what it takes let us know!

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Site!

It's a work in progress but, we are updating our original site  We managed to transfer most if not all out post to the new site, (sadly not the comments).  We will be keeping both locations active, and making updates on both sites, so keep tuned!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gimbels Passageway

I came across this article from the NY Observer.  They seem to be under the assumption that the City Council denied the rezoning application for the Gimbels Passageway.  The truth is it was never turned down.  The whole re-opening was part of the 15 Penn Plaza Project that never got off the ground (thank goodness).