The Waldorf Astoria is a New York City landmark that is nearly as well known as the Empire State Building or even the Statue of Liberty when it comes to New York monuments. Of course, the iconic building as it is now is really the “new” Astoria, which opened in 1931, after the original Waldorf Astoria was torn down to make way for the Empire State Building itself.
Now, under a Chinese company that purchased the property in 2015, the Waldorf will undergo a thorough renovation. The Waldorf Astoria is considered a New York City landmark, and that means that the exterior of the building, at least, is protected by law. Members of the Landmark Preservation Commission will vote to determine which portions of the interior will also be protected. Fan favorites include the marble “wheel of life” tiled in the main entrance and the lobby that displays a miniaturized Statue of Liberty atop a tower.
Tuesday was the Waldorf’s last night open before renovations begin, and many guests – regulars and newcomers alike – took the time to familiarize themselves with the location before it changes. The hotel will be closed for two to three years to complete the renovations, and, while plans haven’t been finalized, the changes are expected to be significant.
The Waldorf Astoria will continue to be a hotel, but not exclusively. The property will be remodeled so a portion of the rooms will function as private condominiums which the Chinese company will sell. While some fans have voiced concern about the landmark being held by foreign companies, most agree they’ll be happy to return when the doors open again.