At the end of this month, The Lexington New York City will wrap up a multi-million dollar renovation—including a complete makeover of the meeting spaces—which will take guests back to the hotel’s glory days. The makeover incorporates the property’s 1920’s jazz history and pays homage to the Hollywood stars that once called it home in the 1950s. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio lived on the hotel’s 18th floor and actor Arthur Godfrey broadcasted a live radio show from the property’s Hawaiian room. This glamorous see-and-be-seen vibe continues to bring the property to life through inventive décor and creative spaces where attendees can simply hangout and have a cocktail—just like the good old days.
To truly get that historic feel back, interior designer David Ashen (of locally based Dash Design) brought Art Deco, which had previously been stripped, back into the building, says Jim Marino, the property’s general manager. The railings on the mezzanine and outside the hotel, for example, showcase this style of architecture. The wallpaper in the bathrooms is also specifically Art Deco-styled and complements the property’s original marble.
The hotel’s art collection, commissioned by industry expert Paige Powell, also paints a 1920’s picture. It includes a wide range of art from both local and international artists and a variety of mediums—murals, photography and 3-D installations, to name a few—that represent the 1920s era. For instance, artist Jessica Bonin created a mural for The Mixing Room lobby bar. It features a fish-eye perspective of New York City that mimics the style of artwork in the city’s historic Bemelmans Bar.
“If you walk in here, it’s a bit of a time capsule, but it has a contemporary design that celebrates that period with some really fun stuff,” says Marino.
One of the renovation’s most exciting parts is the Centerfield suite, which is also the penthouse that Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe once lived in when they were married. It is completely decked out with an original painting of Yankee stadium, DiMaggio’s jersey, a signed baseball and headshots of the famous couple. The similar Lady Ella Suite—named for singer Ella Fitzgerald—features several Ella-related artifacts such as a vintage microphone. Meeting planners will be happy to know that the suites can accommodate high-end gatherings up to 20 people for a reception or up to 10 for a dinner.
The renovation also included each of the three meeting rooms, which total more than 1,000-sf. All of the meeting rooms are named after signature jazz clubs from a bygone era—Half-Note and Onyx boardrooms, the Savoy and S. Dynasty. A plaque outside the door of each room provides a history of the club that it’s named after, as well as the club’s relevance to the 1920’s.
Deirdre Yack, director of sales and marketing, says that the hotel partners with several companies to offer team building opportunities that incorporate the local New York setting, as well as the property’s art influence. Attendees can participate in an art team building break in which they come together and paint tiles that are later turned into a big collage. The city’s famous Magnolia Bakery also works with the hotel to come up with custom treats for groups.