(Formerly the Loew's New York Hotel and originally the Summit Hotel)

569 Lexington Avenue

(S.W. corner at 51st Street)

Developer: Loew's Corporation

Architect: Morris Lapidus and Harle & Liebman

Erected: 1961

The Loew's New York Hotel (formerly the Summit Hotel)

By Carter B. Horsley

Morris Lapidus gained international fame for his Fontainebleu Hotel in Miami Beach and this was his first major New York project.

By Miami standards, this would be attractive, neither too garish nor too monumental.

By New York standards, it is awkward, ungainly and rather outré.

But since Manhattan thrives on its chaotic heritage, this in reality was a rather brave attempt to introduce some new geometry into midtown's rigid grid and a pioneer precursor of bolder experiments such as the sloping skyscraper at 9 West 57th Street (see The City Review article), or the later cut-out massing of the nearby office towers at 599 Lexington Avenue (see The City Review article) and CitiCorp Center (see The City Review article), or the very strange massing of Helmut Jahn's tower (see The City Review article) further south on the avenue just to the north of the Chrysler Building (see The City Review article).

Historically, then, Lapidus probably deserves credit for laying the foundation for the avenue's eclectic mix of buildings and for trying to forge a new high-rise, here a mid-rise, aesthetic in midtown.

Indeed, one year later, Lapidus designed the bent form of the Sheraton Center on Seventh Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets.

Interestingly, the same year that this was built a much larger and free-standing curved project, Chatham Green Apartments, designed by Kelly & Gruzen, was built at 185 Park Row near Chinatown downtown. There the curves were more pronounced although interrupted by protruding rectilinear elevator towers.

Sadly, this building does not extend all the way to Third Avenue, or even to 50th Street. Nevertheless, the 51st Street frontage is quite grand in its rather stretched, open "S" curve and the facade patterning with windows tucked between protruding white-brick masonry elements larger than the windows is quite strong.

The problem here is not the form, although the curve is rather weak, but the color. The sea-blue-green color of the nonwhite portions of the facade is too bland.

In recent years, the entrance and avenue frontage have been improved somewhat.

A jolly, modest building, then, and a welcome surprise in the city's grid.

The hotel changed hands and is now known as the Metropolitan.

A company controlled by Robert L. Johnson, the founder of the Black Entertainment Television network, has cut a $335 million deal for a Midtown hotel known for its striking architecture, according to a January 18, 2010 article at

The upscale Doubletree Metropolitan Hotel is the third hotel that Mr. Johnson's RLJ Development has bought in Manhattan since 2008. He also bought the Hilton Garden Inn at 63 W. 35th St. and the Fashion 26 Hotel at 152 W. 26th St. for more than $100 million each.

Use the Search Box below to quickly look up articles at this site on specific artists, architects, authors, buildings and other subjects


Home Page of The City Review