Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Plaza Doorknobs

I used to like to wander through the Plaza Hotel, when it was still a hotel and not a condo where no one lives, where women get trapped in the garbage room screaming for their lives and bloodying their fingers trying to scratch their way out because no one can hear them, because no one is there, because everyone is a Russian billionaire and never in residence.

Anyway, yes, it was better before. It was lively, beloved, and also dowdy in the right way, a little worn around the edges. Now the place is like a crypt glossed in lacquer, with the Oak Room shuttered and the basement turned into an upscale shopping mall stuffed to the gills with precious little macarons.



There is one item worth noting down there, however. The Plaza Boutique, the gift shop, sells old Plaza Hotel doorknobs.



Removed when the Plaza was renovated and converted to condos, they're antiques and not cheap, running from $350 - $550. They'd look insane on my crappy, hollow-core doors, but I was tempted. Maybe you have a nicer door in which one could proudly perch. Sitting on their display tray, they seem to vibrate with the past, with the hands of so many ghosts.






7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The basement is still a good place to use the ladies room when in the area.

Anonymous said...

Why stop at a doorknob? The architectural salvage company Good Olde Things has chandeliers and mantels taken from the Plaza. Just use the search their inventory for the word "Plaza".

laura r. said...

why was a realestate agent throwing away her own garbage?

Anonymous said...

When the Plaza ceased as a hotel entity, wasn't there something akin to a garage sale, selling off the hotel's contents? Once met someone who spoke of having received a mailer when the Savoy-Plaza was selling its contents. His initials were SP.

mch said...

The home I grew up in, in NJ, was built either in the 1840's or 1850's, or possibly the 1860's.... I grew up with door knobs like this (well, not exactly like this -- my home was more modest, but still -- I recognize the hardware type). When we sold the house after my parents died, the buyer razed it without giving salvagers a chance to retrieve the door knobs, the mortise locks, the gas-lamp sconces (yes, they'd been converted to electricity, but there they were, those sconces, including often the original glass lamps). Don't take me to the plaster moldings, the marble (coal) fireplaces....

Here now in New England, in an 1890's pre-fabricated Sears house -- picturesque New England! The local contractor we've worked with for many years now -- a classic NE working class guy (French last-name, but mixed English-French background), buoyed by his conservative Christian church.... Anyway, ten years ago, as he rescued the various rots that set in to an old house, he wouldn't have noticed much about our house. He liked us, but as for the house, it was a job. But the other day, he was transfigured by the boards in the attic -- and the original hinges on the attic windows (much in need of repair -- you have to open the house to air in summer). He took those windows home to his workshop, eager to preserve the more-than-century-old wood and hinges....

I am very fond of tradesmen (and women -- the women part is in theory). Especially watching them grow into their craft.

mch said...

Talked tonight to my craftsman carpenter/cabinet maker brother in Maine, which led me to return to this post and my own comment. I would like to report that the marble fireplaces are intact, somewhere in Maine (I know where -- just preserving some anonymity here). My brother hasn't done anything about them, but then, he has a life. Also, that several years ago, my brother encouraged me to face the challenge of taking up a chisel so I could fix a minor mortise problem with one door -- well, I haven't faced the challenge, though (supposedly) my beloved contractor will see to that, according to last's week's plans. I doubt very much he'll get around to it. So, time for me to stop lamenting women not being trades(people) and roll up my sleeves? But then I have a life, a job.... Life is so busy being unfinished, all the time. I think that's the trade person's perspective, btw. Yet it produces moments like beautiful door knobs.

Anonymous said...

Normally, I would feel sympathy for anyone who had such a harrowing experience such as this woman did; claustrophobia is no fun. Unfortunately, it's hard to feel sympathy for this real-estate broker with her "clutching her Fabergé egg like a wounded kitten" expression, meticulously crafted in order to elicit compassion. It's a perfect example of how today's wealthy think of themselves. I hope someone bought her lots of macarons for her facial trouble.