Built originally in the late 1800s, NYU Rubin Hall was originally a six-story brownstone and home to a Lady Grosvenor. In 1886, the building was sold and became the Grosvenor Hotel, catering towards exclusive, high-class, elite clientele in a 'fashionable' area of Manhattan. The New York Times once compared it to a luxury apartment building where residents could furnish and decorate suites to their liking.
Eventually the hotel was demolished an rebuilt on the same spot, completed in 1928. The new building, designed by Schwartz and Gross, was built with a sister building diagonally across the street. The buildings were built in the Neo-Federal design, and the then Grosvenor Hotel's interior was fitted with an Art Deco inspired lobby.
The Grosvenor Hotel was, in it's prime, the most expensive hotel in New York City south of 20th street and cost about $4 a night.
Purchased by New York University in 1964, The Grosvenor Hotel was intended to become NYU's third dormitory, serving graduate and international student, and joining the recently built Weinstein Hall and what would eventually become Lipton Hall. At the time, the hotel had about 30 permanent residents as well as a handful of full time staff. The building was renamed the Samuel Rubin Residence Hall after a well known university donor.
The purchase by NYU recieved mixed criticism from the residents in the area. NYU was rapidly expanding, and the acquisition worried the neighborhood.
Gloom pervaded the Old World quiet at the Grosvenor Hotel in Greenwich Village yesterday. The employees and guests had just learned that the 15 story brick building was to be sold to New York University.
Today, NYU Rubin Hall retains many of it's original features. The lobby, protected by the historical society, juxtaposes the building's history and NYU's modern drive. The original Art Deco elements remaining include the black and white tiled floor, the original hardwood paneling, and a still-in-use gilded post box mounted on the elevator bank. The building's multi-paned windows, although not set with the original glass, are also a relic from the building's roaring past. In contrast, a new set of classrooms and a small lounge bring the lobby into the 21st century.
Willa Cather (Novelist) lived in the Grosvenor Hotel from 1927 to 1932.
Mark Twain lived on this site when the building was the Grosvenor Apartments.
Felicity (TV Show) exterior shots of the titular character’s residence hall were filmed at Rubin.
Saturday Night Live’s Opening Credits in early episodes were of Rubin’s revolving door.
Alec Baldwin lived in the Rubin Hall when he attended NYU.
Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr. (Perez Hilton) lived in Rubin Hall.