Those who wish to remember the glory old days at the Hotel Utah can enjoy pieces of its past at another Salt Lake City landmark — The New Yorker.
Many people might not know that the beautiful banquettes (upholstered seating) in The New Yorker were originally from the Hotel Utah Sky Room.
And the stained glass ceiling panels over the New Yorker's cafe area came from the Hotel Utah's Grill Room. They have been part of The New Yorker since it opened in 1978.
I had heard about this a few years ago from Mary Anne Farrier, spokesperson for Gastronomy, Inc. at the time. (Gastronomy, Inc. owns The New Yorker and the Market Street and Oyster Bar restaurants.) I tucked it away in the "Interesting Trivia" part of my brain until the Hotel Utah's 100th anniversary celebration came up, and a chat with Mary Anne reminded me about it. In fact, Mary Anne had a photo of the banquettes at the Hotel Utah, circa 1961.
When the New Yorker purchased the banquettes from the Sky Room, they were candy- apple red leather. Constructed in the 1940s, they are solid walnut with a metal railing. During a Hotel Utah remodel, Izzy Wagner, who was then on the Hotel Utah Board of Directors, made the banquettes available to the New Yorker, according to John Williams, president of Gastronomy, Inc.
The banquettes (since re-upholstered so they are no longer candy-apple red!) are a major focal point of the dining room at the New Yorker.
The stained glass ceiling panels came from the Hotel Utah's Grill Room, located on the lower level of the Hotel Utah, and were part of the original hotel construction in 1911, according to Williams. The design of the Grill Room was embellished with stained glass panels placed between the columns in the room. During a subsequent renovation, the panels were covered over by sheet rock. Many years later during a remodeling project, the panels were discovered by the architect (Bob Fowler) who removed them. The panels were then purchased by the New Yorker and used in the ceiling over the Cafe section.
In honor of Hotel Utah's anniversary, The New Yorker is displaying a poster that tells their patrons about the history of the banquettes and stained glass ceiling. The New Yorker boasts some history of its own, since it is located in the 1906 New York Hotel and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.