This month’s Vanity Fair includes a delightful takedown of the new Plaza Hotel renovation by El-Ad properties. In addition to well-publicized problems with apartment and window sizes, writer Evgenia Peretz outlines a slew of other flaws, from the trivial to the obnoxious. They include:
• A koi pond that was not properly waterproofed.
• The use of low-density marble from China (about 50 cents per square foot) in the bathrooms instead of quality Italian marble.
• A building stairway that cut through one expensive apartment’s master bedroom.
• Crown moldings in rooms that are made of fiberglass and run from $2 to $7 per foot. (High-end crown molding can cost $70 a foot, and real plaster molding many multiples of that.)
• “Mahogany closets” are really lined with millimeters-thick wood veneers over industrial particleboard.
• “Patch & Match” carpeting on the penthouse floor hallways.
Peretz describes the reactions of many residents, upon seeing their newly renovated homes, as “like Extreme Makeover, Home Edition — only the total opposite.” This would kind of be a great, hilarious story of rich people getting screwed by greedy developers, except it’s the Plaza Hotel. It’s supposed to be obnoxiously opulent. Every day thousands of tourists walk by it and think about how truly spectacular New York City is. Little do they know, the veneer of glamour is only a few millimeters deep.