Ambassador Grill and Lobby Designated as Youngest New York City Interior Landmark

Ambassador Grill and Lobby

(New York)- The New York City Landmarks Commission today unanimously voted to designate the First Floor Interiors of the United Nations Hotel, located at 1 and 2 United Nations Plaza in Manhattan. The property is the youngest Interior Landmark in New York City. The designation consists of the hotel lobby reception area, the entrance foyer and hallway, and the Ambassador Grill dining area and bar area. The newly designated interiors are important examples of Late Modern and Post-Modern design by the prominent architectural firm Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. Today’s action brings the number of interior landmarks in New York City to 118.

"These unique spaces represent some of the best and most well preserved interiors in the style and aesthetic of the 1970s and 80s, and we’re delighted to ensure their protection," said Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan. "As the architecture of this period comes of age, the Commission is proud to designate this site, which not only contains its first Post-Modern interior, but is also the youngest New York City Interior Landmark."

Both interiors are located on the first floor as part of a hotel-and-office complex built by the United Nations Development Corporation. Exceptionally well-preserved, the Ambassador Grill and hotel lobby skillfully blend modern and historical forms. Completed seven years apart, these glittering public interiors display distinct stylistic vocabularies that express the shifting character of American architecture between the mid-1970s and early 1980s.

The theatrical, u-shaped Ambassador Grill was completed in 1975 and opened in 1976. Located in a windowless room at the rear of the building, it has mirrored walls and a dramatic, vaulted faux skylight, which is backed by illuminated mylar panels. The dining and bar area is divided by angled walls, freestanding walls, serving counters, and several piers. Of particular interest is the glazed ceiling vault that snakes through both areas. The atrium-like reception area, completed in 1983, parallels the entrance along East 44th Street and features a stepped octagonal glass dome and a ramped hallway flanked by free-standing columns of unusual design.

Built during an era when relatively few new hotels were constructed in New York City, these nearly intact lavish interiors are a distinctive example of public spaces in the 1970s and 1980s.

Damaris Olivo / 212-669-7938,