NEW YORK: End of The Old Lady

Facing Park Avenue, one block south of Grand Central Station, stands a venerable symbol of the Mauve Decade in Manhattan—the eight-story, red-brick Murray Hill Hotel, festooned with magnificent circular fire escapes, studded with four towers whence New Yorkers once could view their city. Like an aging dowager, the Murray Hill resisted change through the years. New Yorkers called it "The Old Lady," occasionally walked through its palm-dotted lobby or ate in its red-walled dining room, with splashing fountain and singing canaries, to evoke the feeling of a bygone era. Among surrounding skyscrapers,...

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