If you’ve entered the hotel through our Madison Avenue courtyard entrance, you may have noticed the doors to the right and left of the main entryway. The door on the right will take you to the Madison Room for dining, and the door on the left will take you to yet another historic part of the Villard Mansion. As this space, Villard North, is being renovated, we wanted to take our readers through the history of its past tenants.
Originally, this area of the mansion was known as The William Fahnestock House. Like many New York brownstones, it was positioned between two other houses and only had windows in the front and back of the house. Resident William Fahenstock began his career in banking and finance at the First National City Bank, and in 1881 opened his own brokerage firm, Fahnestock and Company. In 1922, Fahenstock, engaged designer Charles Platt to design the interior of the house using his signature French-inspired style seen below.
Years later, the Municipal Art Society of New York obtained the space and called it “The Urban Center,” which served as their headquarters, as well as main offices of the Parks Council, the Architectural League and the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Together, the organizations shared the public spaces at The Urban Center for the programming of events and rented space to commercial tenants to help make the venture self-efficient until it closed in 2010.
Villard North will not be left out of the new renovations taking place at the hotel. Plans are already underway for the area to serve as an exhibit and event space that will be open to the public.
Check back for more details about what lies ahead for Villard North!