Why Is The Plaza All Wrapped Up To Look Like The Plaza?

Seems it wasn’t that long ago – 2005, to be precise – that The Plaza closed for major refurbishments inside and out. The spruced up property reopened with a flourish in 2008 housing hotel rooms, condominiums and a high-end shopping mall that has since morphed into the wildly – and deservedly – popular Plaza Food Hall and Todd English Food.

So why is this 1907 landmark swaddled in a pale white scrim, the kind that signals heavy-duty construction work instead of an artwork by Christo?

“Apparently the exterior work was not good enough,” a desk attendant told me when I stopped by to see the wrappings.

It seems a slab of concrete – a big one – fell from the façade recently. Fortunately, no one was killed. But to prevent a repeat performance, the exterior is being restored once again, a process expected to last at least a year.

As construction scrims go, the Plaza’s is a beauty. In a spectacular display of trompe l’oeil craftsmanship, the scrim shielding the front of the building has been painted to look exactly

like the hotel. From a distance you almost don’t realize you’re looking at a life-size artist’s rendering of Henry Janeway Hardenberg’s iconic Fifth Avenue chateau. Every window, gable and turret is in place, amplified by shadings of pale Plaza green.

Zero in closer to the hotel, however, and it’s clear that the Plaza is once again a construction site, at least on the outside.

And on the inside? Hotel guests in rooms facing south may find themselves gazing out onto scaffolding as well as the classic cityscape that includes Bergdorf Goodman, Rockefeller Center and the spire of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a desk attendant says.

Update: I’m happy to report that The Plaza scrim, clever as it was, is gone and the hotel is once again on full view.






10 replies
  1. Herve
    Herve says:

    A very imaginative recovery on the part of the Plaza for what must be a disappointing setback — having to do all that exterior work again after so few years.

  2. Micki
    Micki says:

    I love the idea of the scrim painted to look exactly like the hotel. It’s so much more appealing for guests than looking at scaffolding and construction!

  3. Sue
    Sue says:

    I was right under the The Plaza Hotel when the concrete piece fell of. The pieces of the concrete hurt-ed my legs. I was with 2 other people. We had just left the hotel going for a walk. For just a second, we were almost killed. I was so socked! I have the pictures that we took moments before we left the hotel and pictures of the concrete that almost killed the 3 of us. Later on that day, the hotel put a yellow ribbon around the area and since then they have being renovating it. I was so scared about that day that since this incident I have walked by the sidewalk usually looking up if there are part of the construction that can fell of a building.!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.