November 3, 2008

Lost New York: Gary Panter's Paramount Hotel Playroom

panter_paramount_playroom2.jpg

Uh, Campana Brothers, can I see you outside for a minute?

When Ian Schrager reopened the dumpy Paramount Hotel in Times Square in 1990, it had been redesigned by Philippe Starck. The rooms were still tiny, but the lobby was dramatic for the day. I was more of a Royalton man myself, but even though I hung out at the Paramount and stuffed cheaper clients and guests there over the years, I had no idea that the hotel contained a children's playroom by Pee Wee's Playhouse creative director Gary Panter.

panter_paramount_playroom1.jpg

Judging by the arched windows, the playroom was on the mezzanine, and judging by the mirror reflections in these, the only photos of the space I could find, it was basically a standard, shoebox-sized room, tricked out in typical Boomer-era whimsy with, glowing aquariums, overly bright surfaces and Panter's fantasyland furnishings.

Now about those furnishings. Am I missing something, or did Panter create chairs entirely out of stuffed animals at least 13 years before Fernando and Humberto Campana first stiched a pile of toys into an $11,000 banquete? Did they ever stay at the Paramount?

On his website, Panter says the playroom was dismantled, possibly when Starck refreshed the lobby in 1998. What happened to these three giant plush chairs, I wonder? There was a Sylvester, a Tweety, and a Pink Panther chair, and they're not the kind of chairs that'd be easily overlooked. If you've seen them, drop me a line.

Paramount Hotel Playroom (dismantled), 1990 [garypanter.com]

3 Comments

They are laying around our basement..
He had to get in there and save anything he wanted when they threw it all away... sad.

I'm disappointed 'cause I just wrote an eloquent essay about the Paramount's playroom where my kids used to go with their dad on weekly free rounds. I included other fabulous places to go that are free & fun & still around. Also mentioned that we have videos of the playroom. My test was lost upon submission. Apparently I got one of your squiggly letters wrong. Why do you have this gate to sharing one's ideas I wonder??

Sorry about that, I am bummed to miss your essay. And I'd love to see and share your Paramount playroom videos. Are they online? Do you have some links?

Without that simple but admittedly annoying/imperfect challenge to make sure you are a human, this site would be overrun with comment spam, or I would be so sick and tired of deleting thousands of comment spam every day, that I'd shut the comments off completely.

So it's a tradeoff.

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