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The Insider's Connection

Liza Minelli

The Glamour and The Despair, The Barbizon Hotel

How do images from popular culture imbue legacy onto a structure? If a building is landmarked, does that mean its story will continue being told? How do we use grand narratives to remain comfortable and avoid looking into the hidden histories of people and places? The Barbizon Hotel operated from 1927-1981 as a women-only residence. The Late Gothic Revival-style building at 140 East 63rd Street stands at 23 stories tall, and for decades its 700 tiny dormitory rooms were home to young, hopeful, single women with modest means and huge dreams. Through pop culture, the Hotel has become somewhat iconic. Variations of the Barbizon are shown in Mad Men, The Bell Jar, Agent Carter, and more. Today, the landmarked building–a unique pink-toned brick exterior with Italian Renaissance characteristics–is now full of luxury condominiums with an Equinox gym downstairs. In the…

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July 8, 2019