One of the most spectacular spaces in the city, this domed and vaulted interior greeted visitors entering the 22-story headquarters of Cunard Steamship Company, a leader in passenger ship service between America and Europe since the 19th century.
The interior’s focal point is the 65-foot-high Great Hall, where passengers purchased tickets for the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. The central dome and two flanking groin vaults are covered with intricate polychrome murals by Ezra Winter, with images of mythical and historical figures, vessels, and sea creatures. Panels depict historic ships and maps of the continents, and finely crafted metalwork screens by Samuel Yellin separate the sections.
By the 1960s, transatlantic jetliners were replacing sea travel, Cunard sold the building and moved uptown. From 1977 to 2000, the Great Hall was used as a post office, with much of its decoration obscured. It remained vacant until 2014, when it was carefully restored and reopened as an elegant Cipriani special-event space.
Photographs by Larry Lederman © All rights reserved