This past January, Renee, Jessica and Jailee along with a group of OHNY participants went on a tour of the New York Marriott Marquis, which was led by Mickey Steinberg, Development Director for the hotel during its construction, Brandon Martinez, Hotel Manager and Tom Rice, Special Events Coordinator for the hotel. We explored different parts of the hotel and learned how integral this building was in the revitalization of Times Square and the theatre district.

Our hosts for the evening (from left to right) - Mickey Steinberg, Brandon Martinez and Tom Rice

Completed in 1985 and designed by John Portman & Associates, the New York Marriott Marquis is a 50-story hotel features a soaring atrium with 12 scenic elevators, 1,892-guest rooms (which makes it the second largest hotel in NYC, the Hilton in Midtown reigns as the biggest with 1,981 rooms), a 1,600- seat Broadway Theater (Evita will debut on March 12 starring Ricky Martin), 69 meetings rooms, and three restaurants and lounges.

Mickey told us a little bit about the history of the Times Square neighborhood and the complexities of building this hotel in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, when the area was filled with adult theaters, go-go bars and speculated mob activity. Constructing the NY Marriott Marquis was also subject to its own controversy. Protestors including actor Christopher Reeve fought to preserve five historic theaters such as Helen Hayes, the Astor and the Morosco, which would be demolished to pave the way to build this hotel. However, while the New York Marriott Marquis faced opposition in being constructed, the hotel made a significant impact on the redevelopment of Times Square at the time.

Never a bad way to start off a tour, we headed over to one of their kitchens to meet with Steve Evetts, Executive Pastry Chef. He explained to us how all of their desserts and pastries are made in-house and daily. We all were able to sample chocolates, cakes, French macarons, and madeleines.

We then made our way to the Broadway Ballroom, which is quite massive (can accommodate 2,400 individuals) and features chandeliers in amorphous shapes with color-changing LED technology.

The tour wouldn’t be complete without riding in one of the glass elevators to The View Restaurant. It is the only revolving rooftop restaurant in the city. Tom handed out specially designed napkins that he himself created which feature a map of some of the city’s iconic buildings that can be viewed from the restaurant.

One of our last stops was to the JW Marriott Suite. What would be considered larger than most standard sized NYC apartments, this two level suite has living/sitting areas, a pool table and floor to ceiling windows.

The evening ended with a champagne toast in the Broadway Lounge with spectacular views of Times Square and all of its bright lights.

A special thanks to Mickey Steinberg and Alex Duval from Portman and the folks at the New York Marriott Marquis for providing this special tour for us!

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