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Hotel Plaza
91 Sip Avenue, South East corner of Sip and Enos Place
Entrance now on Jones Street

Postcard of Hotel Plaza
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library

Hotel Plaza
Photo: P. Shalhoub, 2001


Designed by Clinton and Russell of New York City, the seven-story hotel opened in 1924. It was built under the supervision of architects William Neuman & Sons as part of the post World War I rebuilding of Journal Square by the Plaza Apartment Hotel Corporation of New Jersey.

The hotel structure is of toned red brick, trimmed with limestone and white marble. It had a marquee over the entrance on Sip Avenue and a colonial style main entrance and lobby on Enos Place. An addition to the building was built in 1928.

As a full service hotel, it had 190 rooms, 160 baths, and eventually several dining rooms, such as the Wedgewood Dining room, Cocktail Lounge, and Grill and Men's Bar. The banquet hall, decorated in French and Italian Renaissance style, became the gathering place for social and political events in Jersey City. The local Lions Club, Rotary Club, and United Way, among others, met there for fifty years.

Political leaders frequently staged rallies in the ball room. Hague held his annual "speaker's bureau" there, delivering his pitch to ward leaders and committee men and women about the upcoming elections. Those who either disagreed with the mayor or disrupted the meeting were physically ejected to the streets. Years later Jacqueline Kennedy came to the ball room during John F. Kennedy's campaign for the presidency; Adam Clayton Powell campaigned there during Robert F. Kennedy's bid for the White House. C.J. Ingram, the radio editor of the Jersey Journal hosted a variety show from the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel on Sundays in the 1930s and the 1940s. It was broadcast over Radio WAAT in the Universal Building at the rear of the Stanley Theater.

The Plaza Management Corporation purchased the hotel in 1951, but its future was not secure. The commercial center of Journal Square began to feel the impact of the suburban shopping malls in the 1970s, drawing business away from the area. The occupancy rate declined forcing a reconsideration of the use of the building. In 1978 the United Auto Workers and the Senior Citizens Council purchased the hotel at auction for $400,000 with assistance from the Housing and Development agency.

Today the renovated building, which opened in October 1980, has nintey-three units for senior housing.

 

By: Carmela Karnoutsos
Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub