“cocktails from another era”
The Campbell Apartment is a public bar and cocktail lounge—currently closed due to a change in management—located in Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The space was once the office of American financier John W. Campbell, a member of the New York Central Railroad's board of directors. Later used for office space, as a studio by CBS Radio and as a jail by Metro-North Railroad, the space was restored to its original opulence following renovations totaling nearly $2 million in 1999 and 2007. Located in the southwestern corner of the Grand Central Terminal building — above the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue — the space is reached by a staircase from the Balcony Level. It was first leased in 1923 by John Campbell from William Kissam Vanderbilt II, whose family built the Terminal. The 3,500-square-foot (330 m2) space was a single room 60 feet (18 m) long by 30 feet (9.1 m) wide with a 25-foot (7.6 m) ceiling and an enormous faux fireplace in which Campbell kept a steel safe. At that time, it was the largest ground floor space in Manhattan. Campbell commissioned Augustus N. Allen, an architect known for designing estates on Long Island and town houses in Manhattan, to build an opulent office, transforming the room into a 13th-century Florentine palace with a hand-painted plaster of paris ceiling and leaded windows. Its mahogany balcony with a quatrefoil design that still exists today. The Persian carpet that took up the entire floor was said to have cost $300,000, or roughly $3.5 million today. Campbell added a piano and pipe organ, and at night turned his office into a reception hall, entertaining 50 or 60 friends who came to hear famous musicians play private recitals. He had a butler named Stackhouse. After Campbell's death in 1957, the rug and other furnishings disappeared from his office and the space eventually became a signalman's office and later a closet at Grand Central, where the transit police stored guns and other equipment. It also became a small jail, in the area of the present-day bar. After falling into disrepair, the space was restored and renovated in 1999. The walls and ceiling were brought back to their former glory and the original steel safe, once hidden behind a wall, now sits in the massive fireplace as a reminder of Campbell's wealth. The new bar is done in the same quatrefoil mahogany style as the balcony. The renovation cost an estimated $1.5 million. A 2006 renovation replaced a largely blue palette with a largely red one, including new carpet, bar stools and chairs. To avoid closing for even one night it took place in less than 12 hours and cost $350,000. The Campbell apartment lost its lease in June 2016 after a protracted battle with its landlord and closed its doors at the end of July 2016.
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The Campbell Apartment (temporarily closed)
- Mon: 3:00 pm - 12:00 am
- Tue - Fri: 12:00 pm - 1:00 am
- Sat: 12:00 pm - 2:00 am
- Sun: 2:00 pm - 2:00 am
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