Painted as a square surrounding the back windows of a hotel this sign is somewhat unique in its form.
Designed by the architects Murgatroyd & Ogden, the Hotel Governor Clinton opened in 1929. The New York Times (28 July 1929, p. 144) described it as "thirty-two stories in height, designed in the Italian style, ... [it] will have an underground tunnel giving direct connection with the subway and the Pennsylvania Terminal." This location is directly across the street from Pennsylvania Station.
This undated postcard view shows the Governor Clinton across the street from Pennsylvania Station.
Robert A. M. Stern, et. al., New York 1930: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Two World Wars (1987) describes the Governor Clinton as follows, "Located at the southeast corner of Seventh Avenue and Thirty-first Street, the Governor Clinton was designed by Murgatroyd & Ogden working in collaboration with George B. Post. Departing drastically from the Imperial Classicism of both the neighboring Hotel Pennsylvania and the railroad station itself, the Governor Clinton, like much of Murgatroyd & Ogden's other work, was executed in what T-Square described as the 'Italianesque' style - the twelfth-century North Italian style with Romanesque detail - here convincingly married to an asymmetrical mass crowned by a low tower pierced by round-arched arcades. Inside, the Italianesque style was extended to the lobby with its flat paneled ceiling, but was abandoned in the restaurant, a Georgian-style room that stretched along the Seventh Avenue facade."
The architects were Everett Frederick Murgatroyd (1880-1946) and Palmer Harmon Ogden (1881-1959). Ogden's obituary in the New York Times (18 April 1959, p. 23) reads in part, "Mr. Ogden graduated from Cooper Union in 1906. In addition to working out the design for the World War I Victory Arch in Washington Square, New York, Mr. Ogden also designed the Governor Clinton and Barbizon Plaza Hotels in that city." Murgatroyd received only a brief notice in the Times (28 Jan. 1946, p. 19): "Everett F. Murgatroyd, retired architect, formerly a member of the firm of Murgatroyd & Ogden, which designed many hotels in New York and other cities, died yesterday at his home, 2764 Morris Avenue, the Bronx, at the age of 65."
The hotel was named for George Clinton (1739-1812), the first governor of New York State (1777-1795 and 1801-1804). New York City Skyscrapers, by Richard Panchyk, 2010, has the following, "Hotel Governor Clinton. Built in 1929 in the Italian Renaissance style, the Governor Clinton had 32 floors and was 378 feet high. Present at the opening banquet were Gov. Franklin Roosevelt and former governor Al Smith along with Mayor Jimmy Walker. Located at the corner of Thirty-first Street and Seventh Avenue (across from Pennsylvania Station), the Governor Clinton was named after former governor and vice president George Clinton and was designed by Murgatroyd and Ogden." In 1967 the name of the hotel changed to Penn Garden Hotel, and then in 1974 it became Southgate Tower. Around 2004 the name changed again: to Affinia Manhattan.
The sign is probably original with the date of construction (1929).
In 1929 the New York Times (18 Aug. 1929) featured a fullpage ad announcing the opening of the Hotel Governor Clinton, including this description of services.
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