Until the mid-1860s the Fifth Avenue area around Madison Square was Manhattan’s “aristocratic” heart. Its brownstone mansions were occupied by the city’s elite. The gradual incursion of commerce into this residential haven started with high-class hotels.
In 1864 Hoffmann House was one of the first to open its doors. Owned by Cassius H. Read, it was located on the corner of 25th Street & Broadway and contained tree hundred rooms with all the latest conveniences. The establishment proudly advertised its lavish furnishings, carefully chosen artworks, and refined French (Parisian) cuisine. At a time that hotel living was becoming a fashionable alternative to owning a family mansion for wealthy New Yorkers, Hoffmann House was recommended as the most comfortable and homelike residence in the metropolis.
During the 1880s the hotel’s “grand salon” became one of New York’s “secretive” attractions for a very specific reason. [Read more…] about Four Nymphs, a Satyr and Manhattan’s Ladies’ Mile