The Ribbon 72nd Street
Your Neighborhood spot on the Upper west side
The Upper West Side is chock full of iconic landmarks that define New York City and the cultural mecca that it is for millions of residents and tourists alike that visit our great city every year.
Almost directly diagonally opposite The Ribbon, stands the majestic Dakota residences that have been home to some of the most famous New Yorkers and International celebrities since its construction in 1884. The Who’s who list of residents has included Lauren Becall, Leonard Bernstein, Rosie O’ Donnell, Gilda Radner, John Lennon, Roberta Flack, Connie Chung, and Maury Povich among many others.
Steps away from the Dakota is of course one of the many entrances to Central Park is the entrance called Strawberry Fields which is really a memorial near where John Lennon was murdered outside his home, which was the Dakota in 1980. The memorial is a triangular piece of land on the two sides of the park, and its focal point is a circular pathway mosaic of inlaid stones, with a single word, "Imagine". The mosaic, in the style of Portuguese pavement, was designed by a team of artists from Italy.
Sheep Meadow is another area of Central Park that our guests seem to frequent quite often. This 15 acre meadow is located between 66th street and 69th street in the Park. Originally conceived as a parade ground in the 1850’s, the main architect of the park, Frederick Law Olmstead decided to change the area into a meadow for animal grazing as he was concerned the park could become politicized. Sheeps remained grazing there until 1934.
In the southern portion of the park Wollman Rink ( first established 1950) is open many months of the year and is maintained by the Trump Organization. The Victorian Gardens, that first opened in 2003 are in close proximity to the Rink and operate rides for 2-12 year olds during the summer months
One of The Ribbon’s other famous neighbors is The Beacon Theatre which is at Broadway and 74th street very proximate to our location. Designed in the 1920’s, the same era as The Franconia Hotel where you are today, the beautiful Beacon theatre was originally opened as a movie complex in 1926. The theatre is now run by the Madison Square Garden Company and has been restored to its original splendor hosting some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry today.
A day on the Upper West side would not be complete without a visit to the American Museum of Natural History, a short stroll from our location on 79th street. The old “castle” side entrance is visible on 77th street and worth looking at as well. Established in 1869 it comprises 28 buildings, 45 exhibit halls and over 30 million specimens making it a world class museum that can be enjoyed for days at a time.
It’s good to get around the city by walking but it should also be noted that on our corner of Central Park West the B and C trains are available. Further West at Broadway the vast 72nd street subway station is convenient for the 1/2/3 trains that run in both directions. Plenty of Municipal meters exist on Columbus for folks that drive in and can use the convenient PARKNYC app on their phones to park conveniently from their phone using the new 6 digit Zones that every meter now has in the borough of Manhattan.
Of course the building we are in, the Franconia at 20 w 72 is an icon in its own right. Originally built as the Franconia Hotel by noted Gangster Arnold Rothstein (1882-1928), known as “The Brain”, “The Big Bankroll” among other names, he was the first real organized crime Boss in New York. He was the mastermind behind the Black Sox Scandal of the 1919 World Series that was a “fixed’ series of baseball games. A popular culture story is that Arnold fixed the 1921 Travers Stakes and won $500,000 that day and used the money to buy the plot of land at 20 w 72 and build the popular Franconia Hotel which opened in 1924. The Hotel lobby which is towards the middle of our restaurant housed a speak easy in what is our main step down dining room. The hotel bar saw a lot of activity, every major dignitary from Mayor Jimmy Walker to the police commissioner George McLaughlin would have their brown spirits in the hidden room. Look behind the glass on the back wall to see bullet marks from a wild brawl that happened in 1925.