|Location||New York City|
|Address||153 West 42nd Street (also 1469 Broadway and 603 7th Avenue)|
|Construction started||October 1898|
|Opened||November 11, 1899|
|Demolished||November 24, 1902|
|Grounds||58 x 25 feet|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Henry F. Kilburn|
|Other designers||Otto Strack (portico)|
|Main contractor||Robinson & Wallace|
|Number of rooms||35 guestrooms|
The Pabst Hotel occupied the north side of 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York City, between 7th Avenue and Broadway, in Longacre Square, from 1899 to 1902. It was demolished to make room for the new headquarters of The New York Times, for which Longacre Square was renamed Times Square.
To the Pabst Brewing Company, the hotel and its restaurants were part of a nationwide program for promoting its beer. This facility, however, conflicted not only with the Times, but also with plans for New York's new subway system.
In the 1890s the Pabst Brewing Company of Milwaukee embarked upon a program of acquiring restaurants and hotels—at one time controlling nine of them in Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and New York—giving the resorts its name and serving only its own products.[note 1] It subleased the properties to professional facilities operators.
In New York, Pabst came to control:
Pabst itself leased the building from Charles Thorley, who built it on ground leased from Henry Dolan for five 21-year terms. Thorley leased it to the brewing company for the remainder of the first term in 1899; Pabst leased it to Jame B. Regan, who ran it as proprietor. It stood on the south end of the slender triangular block formed by the intersection of 7th Avenue and Broadway, the rest of which belonged to the estate of Amos R. Eno (November 1, 1810 – February 21, 1898) and was occupied by an older group of five four-story brick buildings, also Eno's, which tapered in width from south to north to fit the block.
The principal architect, Henry F. Kilburn, designed a nine-story tower with a steel frame and limestone cladding—still a new construction method at the time. Floors 3 through 9 each had five bedrooms. Construction began in October 1898, and the opening was November 11, 1899. The building cost $225,000 and Pabst made additional improvements for $50,000.
An advertisement on the back wall read: "The 'Pabst' / Ladies' & Gentlemen's Restaurant / Rathskeller / Bachelor's Hotel." The building's footprint was small, 58 feet wide by 25 feet deep, but the restaurant, on the second floor, and the rathskeller, in the basement, were not confined by the property lines. The rathskeller used space under the sidewalks, which was common and lawful, and the restaurant extended over the 42nd Street portico, which had been built on the sidewalk without authorization. This was common, too, but not lawful.[note 2]
In July 1900, The New York Times criticized city officials for allowing the illegal portico, which it called "a gross and insolent encroachment upon a public highway", to remain; however, city officials were no more inclined to move against this encroachment than any of the others. Regan was defiant; the Times was relentless. For two years, in dozens of articles and frequent editorials, the Times informed its readers about its battle to get city officials to enforce the law by removing the portico, while the officials, according to the Times, resisted every way they could[note 3]—e. g.: they claimed confusion over their legal authority; they filed an unnecessary lawsuit against Regan and Thorley, claiming the city lacked the funds to carry out the removal; bills were introduced in the Municipal Assembly and the State Legislature to legalize the portico, but did not become law; and a spurious mandamus lawsuit was filed as a delaying tactic.
Some people questioned the Times' motive for singling out this one violation, when there were so many others.
After many delays, a judge decided against the hotel on November 18, 1901. The portico, he ordered in strong words, must be removed, by the city if necessary, at the hotel's expense. Regan and Thorley appealed, and the Times reported that although city officials could lawfully have acted on the order at once, they chose to delay, pending the outcome.
If the portico was eventually removed, it wasn't reported.[note 4]
New York City's first subway lines were constructed in sections from 1900 to 1904. The main line ran north from the City Hall under the East Side, across town under 42nd Street, north again under 7th Avenue from 43rd to 44th Street, and then under Broadway. The route therefore included a wide curve directly under the Eno property. The Subway Realty Company, an arm of the company building the subway, purchased it from Amos F. Eno (son of Amos R. Eno), demolished the buildings, and excavated an opening for the work. Construction noise was loud, which must have hurt the hotel's business.[note 5]
Though the Pabst Hotel would be able to remain, on April 15, 1902, the subway company took possession of the entire cellar room beneath the Broadway side of the building and about half of the space beneath the sidewalk on 42nd Street, for tunnel purposes—a large part of the rathskeller and storage room. Regan and Pabst claimed this nullified the lease with Thorley.[note 6]
Regan at the time was proprietor of the Woodmansten Inn, the Bronx, and arranged to become proprietor of the grand Knickerbocker Hotel, planned for the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Broadway.
On September 24, 1902, the Pabst Brewing Company filed suit in federal court to recover damages from Thorley.
On August 4, 1902, The New York Times announced that it would give up its long-time home on Park Row near City Hall and move to a neighborhood it predicted would soon be the commercial center of the city: Longacre Square. Its publisher, Adolph S. Ochs, had purchased the former Eno ground from the Subway Realty Company and obtained a long-term lease from Charles Thorley on the ground under the Pabst. The company would build a skyscraper on the triangular block for its own occupancy.
Demolition of the hotel began November 24, 1902. It was the first building completely supported by a steel skeleton ever demolished. The Times reported that professional builders were keen to discover whether the structural members had begun to corrode, which might threaten the structural integrity of the building and the future of the construction method, but nothing alarming was discovered.
On April 8, 1904, Longacre Square was renamed Times Square. The subway, including the Times Square station, opened to the public on October 27. The newspaper moved into its new building Sunday, January 1, 1905,[note 7] although the building wasn't quite complete.