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There was a time when New York’s NoMad district was the height of fashionable New York. In the early years of the 20th century, the streets around The Evelyn Hotel (then called The Broztell upon its opening in 1905) and New York’s Flatiron Building were the places to see and be seen.

Young model Evelyn Nesbitt was the talk of the town. She was an artists’ model who inspired the famed Gibson Girl (she of the long locks and wasp waist). She was also the supposed mistress of architect, Sanford White. After Nesbitt married socialite Harry Thaw, Thaw got tired of hearing stories of his wife and White and shot the famed New York celebrity dead. (You can see the scene with novelist, Norman Mailer playing White in the film, Ragtime).

Elizabeth McGovern and Donald O'Connor in Ragtime

American actress Elizabeth McGovern dancing with American actor and dancer Donald O'Connor in the ... [+]

Mondadori via Getty Images

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The trial was on all the front pages. Testifying, Nesbitt herself explained how White had plied the young model with drinks, showing her his famous studio swing where numerous women had posed for him. Nesbitt testified that White had taken advantage of her without her consent. In an age before “Me Too,” Nesbitt was a woman unafraid to call out the rich and powerful.

Today, the Hotel Broztell has been renamed The Evelyn in her honor. Nesbitt ended her days as something of a celebrity in Hollywood with films being made about her life (Joan Collins played her in The Girl on The Swing and Elizabeth McGovern took the role in Ragtime).


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Evelyn Nesbit

Actress Evelyn Nesbit poses for a portrait in this undated photo. (AP Photo)


The Triump Hotel Group spent a hefty sum renovating the art deco gem, which is filled with original cast iron stair case details, a lobby tile fresco original to the building and numerous artful details like a massive oak bar near the hotel’s Michelin-starred Benno Restaurant that hails from the Ragtime era of Nesbitt and nearby Tin Pan Alley (the hotel was formerly named “The Gershwin” after its proximity to the place where many popular songs were born).

Benno Restaurant

Benno Interior Entrance - Alex Staniloff Benno Restaurant foyer

The hotel is also a culinary showplace. Just awarded a Michelin star for 2020 and the new home of Per Se’s Chef Jonathan Benno, the restaurant is culling accolades from food critics and travel elite alike (Sheila Donnelly, wife of travel essayist Paul Theroux recently posted on social media that Benno served her a more than memorable meal and that she was delighted with Benno’s classic French via the Mediterranean cuisine).

Benno Restaurant main dining area

Benno Main Dining Room Area

Benno Restaurant

Benno’s artful fine dining is served in the main skylit dining room—an art deco-era gem where the architecture of the food on your plate matches the surroundings.
Evelyn Nesbit with Joan Collins

(Original Caption) Hollywood, California: Evelyn Nesbit (left) famed Gibson girl and stage beauty of ... [+]

Bettmann Archive

Upstairs in the rooms, small period details like Tin Pan Alley lyrics written on tiles around the bathroom (heralding the song, “I’ll Take Manhattan”), postcards with Evelyn Nesbitt’s hauntingly beautiful image and leather detailing in the well-appointed rooms echoes the Evelyn’s origins.

Outside, the 21st century is right outside your door. The Museum of Sex, which generally has a line around the block to get in to its galleries and gift shop, is a reminder of how much has changed since Evelyn Nesbitt called foul on her turn-of-the-century “Me Too” moment.

The upstairs library/mezzanine of the Evelyn Hotel

Mezzanine Evelyn Hotel

Copyright Andrea Behrends 2017

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