120th Anniversary Of New York Palace Budapest

  • 12 Mar 2014 8:00 AM
120th Anniversary Of  New York Palace Budapest
The history of the New York Palace dates back to the 70s of the 19th century when a talented young man from Upper Hungary called Max Aufricht arrived to Budapest with a teacher’s diploma and a silver forint in his pocket. But his poverty was paired with immense ambition; he obtained a doctoral degree in law and learned French.

With a Hungarianized name, Miksa Arányi soon travelled to Paris where he made acquaintance with the director of the New York Insurance Company. The meeting turned into a business: he was assigned to develop a Hungarian; the endeavor was crowned with such success that it necessitated erecting a representative office building in Budapest.

The Budapest headquarters of the New York Insurance Company was completed in 1894 based on Alajos Hauszmann’s designs. The building became one of the most elegant buildings on Nagykörút and one of its most well-known ones thanks to its ground-floor coffee shop. After roughly 100 years of existence punctuated by some adventures, the facility closed for a long time during the early 1990s, then the new owner, the Boscolo Group commenced its reconstruction in 2001.

The New York Palace regained its once astonishing glamor thanks to its new concept, based on Maurizio Papiri’s and Ádám D. Tihany’s designs. The designs were prepared by experts of the National Monument Recovery and Restoration Center under the direction of the Boscolo Group’s own project management company, Hotel Engineering.

The renovated establishment which also hosts the five-star Boscolo Budapest Hotel, opened its gates in 2006, after roughly 5 years of persevering reconstruction. The developers strived to maintain the structures and facades of the former palace buildings to the greatest extent possible.

The interior arrayed in outer elegance and astounding glamour holds even more surprises in the inside. Boscolo Budapest offers an unparalleled and attractive atmosphere to its guests with 185 elegant rooms enriched with Italian style and state-of-the-art conference rooms. The building bears mainly the Italian renaissance and eclectic style, while its interior design also carries elements of modern contemporary interior architecture.

The end result speaks for itself, as Boscolo Budapest is one of the most prominent hotels of the Boscolo hotels both in style and services. Its rich array is thanks to the quality of original Italian materials used and the excellent noble materials. Italian marble, textiles and equipment lend even more grandeur to the entire hotel. Among others, the rooms are adorned with dazzling hand-made Murano chandeliers.

The developer managed to transform this excellent piece of our cultural heritage again into one of the most beautiful and special attractions in Budapest. The New York Palace building was awarded with the title “Budapest Építészeti Nívódíja 2007” (Budapest Architectural Prize) and is also the proud holder of the “Hotel of the Year 2013” award.

On its 120th anniversary, Boscolo Budapest surprises every 120th guest with a jubilarian gift in 2014, and it implemented extra room accessories symbolizing the 120 years in its guest rooms.

History of the New York Café

The most stunning part of the New York Palace is the ground-floor café. Its interior was designed in the style of historical eclecticism. Everything was full of marble, bronze, silk and velvet. The structure of the four-level café was completed in an extraordinary decorative manner thanks to the typical wreathed columns; the original balcony solution, effective gallery staircase, the chandeliers and ceiling mural paintings all add to its luxury.

The solemn opening held on 23 October 1894 enjoyed particular attention by the literary and artistic elite of the time, as if they had intuited that the place would be their home, their life-blood and everything for years and decades.

New York involuntarily advanced to a literary café. This place hosted the Nyugat magazine, this is where the Pesti napló editors held a table; the fearful critics sat around the famous “kidney table”; cinema people had their seats on the Dohány street side on the gallery, but this place was the venue for the banquets of theater premieres and acted as a “daycare” of fine artists, the Nyeho. All artists found a home here.

The café life was dramatically changed by both world wars, but the final stroke came when the café was turned into a sportswear shop in the 50s, albeit for a short while. The café, under its new name Hungaria, rose from its ashes in 1954. But the real revival of the New York came later with the regime change.

New York Café was awarded the title the Most Beautiful Café in the World in 2011 in a high-standard international vote.

The management expressed its intention to create literary, musical and other artistic programs for lovers of high-quality culture, which are worthy of the history of New York Café and which can turn it again into the legendary New York.
In October 2014, the 120th anniversary will be made even more memorable thanks to a grandiose ball.


Anniversary cakes-from all over the world

During this year – as the Most Beautiful Café in the World – we would like to get in touch with the world renowned cafés and confectioneries. Each of them would be requested to bake a special cake in honor of the New York Palace’s 120th anniversary. The cakes are going to be listed on our menu with the labels of the creator cafés or confectioneries. These partners will be invited to our Gastronomy Conference as well.

Gastronomy conference

As a new tradition, we are going to organize the Gastronomy Conference. It would be a workshop for professionals, both national and international renowned ministries and magisterial instructors will be invited, even the Hungarian agricultural partners. The event will be connected with exhibition and gastro-photo shooting.

One of our priority task is to support the new talents. The Chef, András Wolf and his team have always thought it is a very important case. Most of the students who have learnt from them, won several professional competitions. We are going to organize a contest for the candidates under the age of 25. The young talents could be delegated from the various restaurants and cooking schools. The winner could spend a 3 month-long internship in the Salon Restaurant’s kitchen which is a great opportunity for the prominence and also a huge professional progress.

The Salon Restaurant, which is led by András Wolf, was awarded 16 points by the Gault & Millau Dining Guide 2014. Moreover, András Wolf and Antonio Fekete were prized as “The Chefs of the Year 2013”.

History and present of the bar pianist contest

A decision was made in 2011 to evoke and revive a profession unfairly forgotten, and to bring it back to its “original home” between the café walls: that of the cocktail pianists.

This is how the idea of the New York Bar Pianist Competition was born; our partner was one of the key players in piano-making: Roland.

During the first series, we selected 13 contestants from roughly 50, to contend in the public semi-finals before the New York Café audience. The number of visitors on the venue grew every week, and finally, during the contests, the café was filled only by fans anxious to see the bar pianists; to organize the finals, the 500-seat room of Boscolo Budapest was necessary.

We managed to attract and excellent jury of experts for the competition. Csilla Szentpéteri, Károly Nyári and Viktor Rakonczai were happy to hear that New York encouraged this genre and while they supported the contestants in everything they did, they also enjoyed every moment of the competition.

In 2012, the New York Bar Pianist Competition was won by Artúr Berki who became the café’s permanent pianist.
As a confirmation of the competition’s success, this year we can welcome Chivas Luxury Club among its sponsors.

The New York Cocktail Pianist Contest 2014 started these very days: 9 talented pianists contend between the café walls, before the committee whose members this year include the recognized authority, Jenő Esze, substituting for Viktor Rakonczai unable to participate because of his schedule. The contestants will compete during the semi-finals on three occasions before the finals on 9 May.

According to the rules of the competition, the audience votes and the committee’s rank weigh fifty percent each in evaluation. Of the three final contestants, 1 person was sent back by the committee and internet voting decides which of the two other contestants will advance to the next round.

New York Literature Evening

“There is no literature without a café”. Taking this thought of Sándor Márai as our motto, the artistic series called New York Literature Evening was launched in March 2013, after lengthy preparations and many plans and cultural intentions, joining the cultural programs and efforts in the legendary New York Cafe. The New York Palace management, Libri Média and Anna Juhász cultural manager propose that the New York Palace with its rich cultural and literary history should host the revival of the active and creative artistic life, offering space for high-standard art and creative mood through literary and cultural events, nights and book premieres.

We believe that today the most important mission of community places, in particular of cafes, is to educate the audience to embrace culture every day, by encouraging reading and bringing arts closer. Motivated by this, twice every month we organize programs on Monday nights, inviting important creators from literature, fine arts, dance, music in the Deepwater room of the legendary Café, on the occasion of a theme, an anniversary, a book or an event.

Last year, the Literature Evening held 16 nights attended by roughly 4000 visitors; we organized talks with more than 80 invited artists. We handed over two tables to the excellent representatives of artistic life; one of them was a Posztumousz table for Éva Janikovszky, while the other was dedicated to the excellent pianist and conductor, Tamás Vásáry.

On two occasions, in November and on the last night of the year, visitors came in such a large number that the New York Literature Evening programs had to be relocated to the Boscolo Budapest Hotel’s Rome room, allowing for one thousand people too enjoy these nights.

Guests invited to the Literature Evening are prominent representatives of Hungarian cultural and artistic life, exciting people, often friends, inspiring partners who often performed together for the first time here at the Literature Evening. During the 10 months of existence of the New York Literature Evening, we created a website with 2800 permanent visitors and daily 5-6000 visitors; the website content is updated every day, hosting detailed information about events and literary and artistic life.

The theme of this season is the 120th anniversary of the New York Palace; thus, we try to include the most important events of the legendary building’s history in most programs.

Planned (Spring) Programs

2013 / 2014 Fall-Spring

27th January – 120th Anniversary of the New York Café – What kind of nation is the Hungarian? – language, traditions and rejuvenation. Special guest: János Lackfi, famous Hungarian litterateur.

31st March – Ecce homo – Men in the center – young, but not junior, different, successful men artists talk about their success and career.

14th April – National Poetry Day – The literature and revolution of the youth – slam poetry night with the most remarkable artists of the genre.

28th April – Emőke Bagdi and her friends in the New York Literature Evening

19th May – Artist couples’ evening – The introduction of artist couples who work in the same or different field. László Tolcsvay and Zsuzsa Pérely, Márton Győri and Nóra Soós, Péter Huszti and Ildikó Piros.

Literary contest

Besides trying to preserve the creative mood of art and literature within the legendary Café’s walls in the 21st century with its literary and cultural programs, the New York Café invites the most prominent authors of contemporary cultural life on regular occasions within the Box nights.

Additionally, it also pays attention to emerging talents who try to establish themselves as writers for whom writing and professional feedback is important. Therefore, in 2011, 2012 and 2013, we organized a literary contest in this building; but this year, we announce a contest with an original form, whose concept was elaborated together with New York Artist Box’s sponsor, Libri Média, the Libri Group.

And what else could be the theme of the 2014 literary contest than the 120th anniversary of New York Cafe. Knowing more about tradition and the past can be an essential and exciting element in the Café life: the great ones of our literature used to sit down in the armchairs of the Deepwater room or the gallery, excellent pieces were created in New York Café. Later, the building was filled by editor teams, but it also hosted tables for János Térey, István Kemény or Attila Bartis, who had a little literature served here.

Café visiting used to be different than today, but even the daily routine of the young and the older ones was different. What is New York Café today? Was it able to renew and to regain its former glamorous role as a cultural center? In what way is it different to be in a Café today? What can a cup of coffee offer to the young ones today? And what significance do the former regular clients, such as Ady, Bródy, Nyugat have? The contest seeks answers to these exciting questions.

Terms of the contest and all pieces of information will be published in the media and also on our Facebook page, in detail.

Visit New York Palace Budapest online

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