Café New York featured

Cafe New York

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Budapest-New York Cafè

Commissioned by the New York Insurance Company New York Palace was built according to the plans of Alajos Hauszmann, Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl.

Sándor Steuer a member of a famous coffee-family opened the gem of the building the “most beautiful café in the world” on October 23, 1894.

The ground floor café became the most splendid part of the imposing palace beside its windows with 16 devilish fauns – “El Ashmodai” the ancient figure of coffee and meditation – held the lantern in good style propagating the spirituality of New York Café this way too.

The majestic building was built in eclectic style relying on Italian renaissance and baroque; its lavishly furnished interiors were designed in the spirit of historical eclecticism. Everything being made of marble, bronze, silk and velvet many people compared the building to the palace of the Bavarian King Louis II. The ceiling was decorated with the marvellous panel paintings of Gusztáv Mannheimer and Ferenc Eisenhut at the entrance a fountain, in the halls Venetian chandeliers dazzled visitors. In the Café beside the women’s and gambling room in the “deepwater” a billiard-room also found a place. According to the Pest rumour on the opening day a famous writer Ferenc Molnár together with his journalist friends threw the keys of the Café into the Danube to have it open 24 hours a day.

Building of the Café New York, originally uploaded by rickbruner.

The Café gained its literary rank when the Harsányi brothers took over management. The New York from the first decade of the twentieth century became renowned as a real literary café one of the centre of the intellectual life of Budapest. Writers and journalists had their Home Circle here and soon the artists’ tables were formed. Shortly after, the editorial office of the highest standard literary periodical of the age “Nyugat” (“West”) found its home here, too. Gyula Krúdy, Ferenc Molnár, Zsigmond Móricz, Dezső Kosztolányi created their first writings here. From the 1910s the cream of the theatrical and movie world swarmed here: Indeed, this is where Sir Alexander Korda – director of films such as The Private Life of Henry VIII & The Thief of Baghdad – started out for his world award winning career, just as Michael Curtis, Oscar winning director of Casablanca did too. Pongrác Kacsó found inspiration in the atmosphere of the Café to compose his famous opera John the Hero as did Imre Kálmán the famous operetta composer when creating several of his celebrated pieces whilst seated in the New York. The New York was a music café: from the beginning gypsy music was to be heard with brass music in wintertime. An abundance of legendary personal waiters took care of the guests, each knowing intimately the regular guests’ wishes and habits.

The First World War put an end to the first golden age of the Café and the Harsányi brothers transferred management. After the war, Vilmos Tarján took over the Café opening a new chapter in its history. He formed a warm food kitchen, the “deepwater” was replaced by a restaurant and “New York Café – and Restaurant” became one of the most elegant restaurants of the city and once again the centre of social life. After the threat of the world war and with the 1930s’ economic crisis the vivid social life calmed everywhere in Europe so New York Café temporarily closed its doors and operated as the most beautiful warehouse in the world. It was reopened under the name of Hungária in 1954 although not as a Café but almost in its original splendour.

After initially sizing up of the project, In February 2001 the Italian Boscolo Group undertook the reconstruction of the legendary building. Experts of the State Monument Reconstruction and Restoration Centre prepared the plans of the monument controlled by the Boscolo Group’s own project management company Hotels Engineering. Following research and during the restoration, art monuments not known before were found. As a consequence, the new owners decided to open the Café together with the renewed Palace. From Spring 2006 the New York Café welcomes its guests in all it’s former splendour recalling the milieu of the beginning of the 20th century with an additional more modern design touch.

Erzsébet Krt 9-11 – 1073 Budapest – HU

Phone +36 1 88 66 111
Fax +36 1 88 66 1 99

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