Saturday, May 17, 2008

Reginald Marsh's McAlpin Hotel Murals

I took the pictures of most of these then supplemented them with others I found online (wallyg and paulpablopawel from flickr) plus images I found of the McAlpin. I added "There's A Small Hotel, by Tony Bennett. Here's a nytimes story about the murals from 4/29/01
Rescued McAlpin Hotel Murals From 1912 Find a Home in the Subway; For Terra Cotta, Terra Firma, By DAVID W. DUNLAP
It would have been hard for Susan Tunick, president of the Friends of Terra Cotta, to imagine a happy ending a decade ago when she saw Dumpsters at the McAlpin Hotel on Herald Square filled with fragments from the fabulously ornate Marine Grill murals of 1912 by Fred Dana Marsh. ''It was truly devastating,'' she recalled. ''I could not go near it.''
That is not where the story ended, however. A rescue effort began that eventually involved the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Municipal Art Society, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
As a result, six of Marsh's enormous arch-shaped lunettes with colorful waterfront scenes are once again on view, this time along the passageways of the Broadway-Nassau station on the A line.
Students working under Vel Riberto of the M.T.A. Arts for Transit program reassembled the jumbled pieces, which were turned over for conservation to the Alan M. Farancz Painting Conservation Studio and then reinstalled by New York City Transit workers as part of the overall renovation of the station.
''Something about this terra cotta brought out the best every person had to offer,'' said Sandra Bloodworth, director of Arts for Transit. ''It was the opportunity to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.'' The project cost about $200,000.
The Marine Grill mural project will receive one of 11 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards on Thursday from the Landmarks Conservancy. Other recipients include the chapel of the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn; Stanley Cogan, the Queens borough historian; and the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture at the New-York Historical Society, where the ceremony will take place.
Peg Breen, president of the conservancy, said many more people can now view the Marsh murals.
Ms. Tunick added, ''I'd love for the room to still be there, but if not, this was a very good public service.

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