New Hard Rock Hotel Opens in Times Square, Stands on Rubble of Music Row
By: Ellen Cans
The new Hard Rock Hotel in Times Square opened its doors on the last Monday. The new beginning, however, is the end of an era for some die-hard music and rock and roll fans.
As reported by the NY Post, before the lot was sold and turned into a 446-key luxury hotel, it was Music Row. The old streets housed Sam Ash, Rudy’s Bass Shop, Alex Accordion and Guitar and other instrument and music shops. Between the 1930s and 2018 that block of 48th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues was a classic page in the Big Apple’s history of music. It was a place like no other in the world, frequented by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and The Beatles.
Then big business rolled in and built a new shiny hotel, and rather than admitting the loss of the distinctive neighborhood which was once Music Row, it borrowed the name, imagining it can live on. The new oversized Hard Rock hotel, a sleek 36-story glass tower, houses a new live-event venue, named the Venue on Music Row. True music enthusiasts shun the comparison. The hotel makes every effort to display famous rock memorabilia. There are large-scale iconic images of Hendrix and Bowie lined in the walls, on display are Joey Ramone’s leather jacket, Lady Gaga’s silver patent leather boots and handwritten lyrics for John Lennon’s 1972 ode to his adopted home, “New York City.”
The hotel rooms start at $475 a night, and a live-event venue was custom built for music, comedy and other live shows. As the first Hard Rock Hotel in the City, the location couldn’t be better, as far as proximity to the Theatre district and history of the location. “We looked at dozens of sites around the city and this really is the perfect fit,” Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming, said of the location. “There is the business side of Midtown on one side and Times Square on the other. This is extremely exciting for us.”
The music-influenced Hard Rock brand, started in the 1980s, now boasts some 253 properties. This new hotel also features RT60 rooftop bar and lounge on the 34th floor. “Because we were designing a brand-new building, we had the ability to create an amazing indoor-outdoor space with a canopy,” said Allen. “We spent a lot of money on creating the DJ booth and the sound system to create an ultra lounge venue.” Time will tell if the luxury tower can house the soul of the music once born on those streets.