The Kaufman-designed Hilton Garden Inn at 237 West 54th Street is almost complete, and curtains are obvious from outside the building; opening day is just around the corner. The monotonous grey facade isn’t the worst possible outcome, as it is diminished by the hotel’s significantly larger neighbors, 250 West 55th Street and 1717 Broadway.
The contrast between 237 West 54th Street and 1717 Broadway is particularly interesting given the hotels’ similar price-point, as the designs of the two buildings could not be more different. 1717 Broadway is an exercise in soaring simplicity, admittedly semi-bland, but far better than what one would typically expect for Marriott-brand hotels in Midtown Manhattan; beyond the design, its proportions are unheard of for mid-range hotels, and it’s actually the tallest all-hotel building in the Western Hemisphere.
237 West 54th Street, on the other hand, is unimaginative and uninspired – it almost looks like a door-wedge in between its two neighbors, stuck there by forces of economics and value-engineering. The design clearly did not have to be so boring, but – at the end of the day – the tower is mildly acceptable filler on a formerly desolate block, and will contribute to the northward march of tourism associated with Times Square. All in all, it could have been much worse.
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