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Chronicles: Barbizon Hotel for Women

shopping-at-the-barbizon-from-milliemotts-dot-blogspot-dot-com2The Barbizon Hotel for Women, built in 1927 and became the in symbol in New York of cultural change, as women began to come to the city for professional opportunities, but still wanted a “safe retreat” that felt like the family home. Located at 140 East 63rd Street, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in 1981 it was renovated for condominium use and is currently known as the Melrose Hotel but 11 holdovers from it’s years as an all women hotel still remain.
For most of its existence, no men were allowed above the ground floor of the Barbizon and strict dress and conduct rules were enforced and when they weren’t residents were scolded and at times, parents called. Because of this, the hotel became known as having the highest concentration this side of Hollywood, with many famous stars once calling its halls home. Some of the most famous residents include: Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Candice Bergen, Ali MacGraw, Cybill Shepard, Rita Hayworth, Sylvia Plath and Liza Minelli.

The building includes a large indoor pool, and air rights to adjacent properties were purchased when the building was constructed, ensuring plenty of light and unimpeded views for the upper floors but other than these amenities, the rooms at the Barbizon were tiny and plain. Bathrooms were shared and electrical appliances were not allowed in bedrooms.
Fans have Mad Men may recognize the Barbizon as the place of residence of one of Don Draper’s post-divorce love interests, the perfect and beautiful Bethany Van Nuys. Don drops her off at the Barbizon in the 8th episode of Season 4.
Melrose Hotel
140 East 63rd Street, NY, NY

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