While the structure of the Barbizon has changed, there’s still something magical about its lore, especially considering how many women who walked its halls went on to stellar careers. We’re by the main train station and close to the museums and shops. “The Barbizon’s rapidly shriveling grandeur was sad in a way,” says former resident Kronstadt, “but also funny, because it signaled to me that the conventional ways of viewing young women, and their autonomy and courage, were eroding.” Page from a brochure advertising the Barbizon's performances, classes, and art studiosThe Barbizon finally did the unthinkable: in 1981, it began admitting males. One of the "new, modern" bedroomsAds ran in major newspapers describing the Barbizon as the place for “smart, beautiful, successful women.” And where the ads didn’t reach, word of mouth did. The Barbizon exterior, in 1981The Barbizon maintained its pristine image with strict conduct rules. Barbizon Hotel for Women was the address for single gals who wanted to make a name for themselves in the big, bad city. suffered a severe housing shortage, and while boarding houses were common at the turn of the century, they were intended more for immigrant or working-class women, and had long waiting lists. “My room was like a small closet,” says Hart. “My cousin lived there,” says Hart, “and she met Grace Kelly on her very first day.” The promise of chance encounters like these catapulted the Barbizon Hotel into a pop-culture phenomenon. Completed in 1930, the Barbizon-Plaza Hotel was the first residential hotel equipped as a music and arts center in the United States. The long-stay hotel maintained its mystique with strict dress codes and conduct rules, which gave it a reputation as an elite pseudo-sorority on the Upper East Side. In 1959, Susan Kohner wrote in Modern Screen, “Since I was determined to live on my own money, it meant a great deal to me.…My room was about as big as a mailbox, and I shared a bathroom with another girl, but I felt wonderful because I was pay.ing my own way. During much of the 20th century, the women-only Barbizon Hotel was an elite fortress for single girls seeking fame and fortune in New York City. The 5-star NH Collection Amsterdam Barbizon Palace hotel is a unique piece of history, expertly converted from several 17th century town houses and a 15th century chapel. May 29, 2017 - Explore Catherine Kirkpatrick's board "Barbizon Hotel" on Pinterest. "After World War I, N.Y.C. Female workers were no longer solely nurses, cooks or household help. The Barbizon Hotel for Women in 1927 -- photo Library of Congress By the time the 1920s roared into Manhattan, women had gained a great deal of independence. The hotel also housed a veritable roll call of silver-screen icons—Gene Tierney, Joan Crawford, Ali McGraw, Cybill Shepherd, Phylicia Rashad, and Candice Bergen all stayed there, as did a young Edith Bouvier Beale, who was a resident while she pursued a career as a model and cabaret performer, prior to moving to Grey Gardens to care for her mother. I thought I’d get claustrophobia in there.” The standard singles were about 6 by 12 feet, and those who could afford it had private bathrooms, while others shared communal bathrooms at the end of the hall. That’s how Sandra Hart heard about the Barbizon Hotel back in 1959, while she was attending college in Ohio. Rumors spread of boyfriends and lovers pretending to be doctors, and grown men crammed into dumbwaiters who’d walk out the front door the next morning with the ultimate bragging rights of having trespassed into “no man’s land.” There were also exacting dress codes, as former resident Joan Gage describes in the documentary 50 Years of Broad Ambition: Ladies of the Barbizon. Page from a brochure advertising the Barbizon's performances, classes, and art studios, 12 Feminist TED Talks To Motivate Your Monday, This Doctor Is Changing The Way We Talk About Anatomy To Kids With Play-Doh Operation Demonstrations, New Documentary, "She Is The Ocean," Is About More Than Just Surfing, Merle Dandridge On Having The Necessary Conversations In Kaley Cuoco's New Series, “The Flight Attendant:” A BUST Interview. Subscribe today! Katharine Gibbs ended its dorm plan in 1970, and its spokesman later told The Wall Street Journal, “More and more girls didn’t want to live under the supervision of a girls’ dormitory. “I’d lived in the South all my life, and I needed to grow up. Barbizon Hotel, 140 East 63rd; Meg Wolitzer recalls the summer of 1979 when she and other Mademoiselle magazine guest editors stayed there. Girls needed…. The hotel’s still standing, but now as Barbizon 63, a luxury condominium building. Whether from the Midwest or California, college graduates or newly divorced, these women had come to the city for a fresh start. Four years ago on A Rolling Crone, inspired by seeing “The Devil Wears Prada”, I wrote a post called “Those Fabulous Magazine Divas –A Memoir.” It told tales of eccentric and glamorous magazine editors I’ve worked for, long before the days of Anna Wintour (the current Vogue Editor who was allegedly the template for Meryl Streep’s character in the film.) 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