The Divine Lorraine restoration is well underway. And with apartments expected to be move-in ready by the end of the year, crews have moved on to the Big Kahuna of the multi-million dollar project: Restoring the grand lobby.
The lobby is arguably one of the most iconic spaces in the abandoned apartment-turned-hotel-turned-worship house. Its marble, curved staircases are showstoppers, as are the tall columns and ornate moldings.
But given that it was one of the most accessible rooms for trespassers during its years of abandonment, it suffered a lot of wear and tear and is in need of a huge overhaul to return to its former glory.
While we continue to wait for the apartment building’s return—it’ll be another year or so—it’s worth remembering what the storied Divine Lorraine lobby once looked like at its peak. These archived photos from the Library of Congress were taken nearly two decades ago for a Historic American Buildings survey. Developer Eric Blumenfeld’s team has said before that they’re using even earlier photos taken in 1933 to return the lobby to its original design.
↑ Designed by architect Willis G. Hale and built in 1884, the Divine Lorraine first opened as a luxury apartment building known as the Lorraine Apartments. The lobby is grandiose with its ornate molding and columns that lead to the welcome desk.
↑ The marble staircases in the lobby of the Divine Lorraine are pretty much in tact, though many of the columns need to be re-plastered. The elevators off to the side of these stairs are also being restored.
↑ While much of the lobby will be restored to its 1933 state, the current desk will be replaced by a circular welcome desk that will feature a large chandelier up top. Each side of the lobby will be flanked with a restaurant, whose tenants have not yet been named.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article said the photos were taken in 1933. According to the Library of Congress, they were compiled sometime after 1933.