Leona Helmsley has died
Another NYC legendary figure has passed away. This time, Leona Helmsley, whose passing is unlikely to evoke the warmth that Brooke Astor’s did. Although I presume the struggle over her final will is going to be less contested than Mrs. Astor’s.
I recently visited some family that was staying at the Park Lane Hotel on 59th Street. My aunt and uncle were in on a business/pleasure trip and stayed at the hotel on something like the 42nd floor. I went up to meet them and got one of the greatest NYC views ever: straight up the center of Central Park. A view of a lifetime. It did give me the chance to point out various and sundry famous buildings in the distance and Central Park attractions just below. Leona was apparently living just two to four floors above and shared the view, albeit slightly better. There was a car in the hotel’s driveway that was ready to whisk her away at a moment’s notice, but we had heard that it had been a long time since that call had been made.
I live in Tudor City, which was once owned by Harry Helmsley (Leona’s husband). He was the person who, after years of acrimony with Tudor City renters, arranged for the sale to the group that eventually turned the complex into co-operative apartments.
There’s still a Helmsley Hotel just about two blocks away on 42nd Street.