NEW YORK CITY The Pierre, a Taj hotel on New York’s Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park, marks its 80th anniversary today with a masterpiece of an anniversary cake by famed cake designer Sylvia Weinstock.
The festive confection will be sliced in the fabled Grand Ballroom this afternoon by General Manager Heiko Kuenstle in the company of The Pierre’s “most honored guests”: its staff. The 80th birthday ceremony will also kick off a year-long calendar of commemorative events at the hotel, which recently reopened following a US$100 million renovation.
The Pierre introduces a yearlong anniversary package offering 30% savings on a quintessential Manhattan experience. A 12-month celebration keeps the festivities alive with exciting cultural events paying tribute to New York’s riches including Central Park, wine, food, fashion, film, art and more.
The calendar begins with The Pierre 80-Year Jubilee Package, which includes a guestroom with Central Park view, a bottle of Corton Grand Cru Cuvee 2006, Hospices de Beaune and gourmet chocolates, a carriage ride through Central Park accompanied by a seasonal basket of treats, two City Passes granting access to New York’s most prominent landmarks and experiences, an exclusive tour of the Metropolitan Museum with a private docent and chauffeured transportation to and from a faux speakeasy. Rates start at US$1,930, based on a minimum two-night stay.
Turning back the clock
Meanwhile, enjoy a fun blast from The Pierre’s past: On February 2, 1929, the headline of The New York Times first announced: “Pierre Hotel to rise on Gerry Home site, $15-million building of 41 stories to replace mansion at Fifth Avenue and 61st Street. Building to have club atmosphere.” Architects Schultze and Weaver had found inspiration in the design of a French chateau, and created a Georgian brick-and-granite structure to replace the mansion of Commodore Elbridge T. Gerry, who was a noted philanthropist, lawyer, and grandson of one of the signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Times readers noted that The Pierre was to be an exclusive hotel, “characterized by its simplicity and refinement.”
On October 1, 1930, The Pierre opened for business with 700 rooms and “an aim to create the atmosphere of a private club or residence instead of the average hotel atmosphere.” Two weeks later, a gala dinner given by president and managing director, Charles Pierre Casalasco, marked the official grand opening. Everyone prominent in the business and society life of the city attended the event. On hand was 85-year-old Auguste Escoffier, “the father of French chefs,” who, in the early years of The Pierre, served as guest chef. The Pierre fast became the toast of New York. A guidebook of the time declared, “It is a monument of beauty and one of the most majestic structures in all New York.”