JW Marriott Essex House New York
When thinking about the Roaring Twenties, some may think of the Great Gatsby, or gangsters in night clubs with illegal booze and pretty women, or the large scale use of automobiles, telephones, and electricity which brought about significant changes in lifestyle and culture.
What all these things have in common, however, is the abundance of money. The 1920s were a time of wealth and excess built on the optimism of a post-war society. Rural Americans emigrated to larger cities with the hopes of finding their fortune in the industrial sector. With the increase in population came the evolution of million dollar hotels.
The JW Marriott Essex House New York inauspiciously began construction the day after Black Tuesday, the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Construction was slowed greatly due to the crash and the doors were finally opened in late 1931. One year later, the iconic red neon sign would be hoisted to the top to become a signature part of New York City's skyline. The sign is considered to be a well-known pop culture reference and can be seen in countless films, television shows, and photographs.
That inauspicious ghost of the Great Depression came back to haunt the original owners of the Essex House because they eventually went bankrupt. The U.S. Government's Reconstruction Finance Corporation took ownership of the building for the next 15 years until it was purchased by the Sterling National Bank Trust and Co. Sterling eventually sold Essex House to the Marriott in the late 1960s and they continued to operate the hotel for the next 16 years.
During this period of Marriott's ownership, the Marriott Essex House hosted the former U.S. Attorney General John N. Michael of the Nixon Administration duing Bernstein and Woodward's investigation of the Watergate scandal. In the film, All the President's Men, Carl Bernstein (played by Dustin Hoffman) asks Mitchell, staying at the Essex House, for a comment about his financial involvement in collecting intelligence from the Democratic National Committee headquarters
The former Essex House exchanged hands of a few more owners before finally coming into the hotel it is today as the JW Marriott Essex House New York.
Throughout its history, the JW Marriott Essex House of New York has hosted many celebrities, but the most notable famous relationship the iconic Essex House has is with the live sketch show, Saturday Night Live. Then-announcer Don Pardo used to include in his intro, "Guests of Saturday Night Live stay at the Marriott's Essex House!" duing each episode.