In 1903, the Pennock Brothers of Philadelphia set out to build a lavish hotel in the newly renamed Times Square district. They engaged the firm of Marvin and Davis, who along with Bruce Price, designed a spectacular grand building in the style of the Second Empire. Unfortunately, during the first year of construction, they had financial troubles, and John Jacob Astor IV, who still owned the land, took over. At the time of the hotel’s construction, the IRT was also being built and Astor secured a deal where a private entrance from the subway would connect directly to his building. The sign for the Knickerbocker (142 West 42nd St.) still remains visible from the east end of the Track 1 platform of the shuttle train.

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