A Nostalgic Revival of New York’s Barbizon Hotel

In the spring of 2010, Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Callahan shared a look at the history and significance of New York’s Barbizon Hotel. The article was titled “Sorority on East 63rd” and featured a mention in the tease of one-time resident Grace Kelly.

Later this month, Callahan will be doing all sorts of publicity for Searching for Grace Kelly, his debut novel sparked by that VF article. The story revolves around three women living at the Barbizon in the summer of 1955.

The paperback release is set for January 27, but on the digital side, customer reviews have been rolling in. From Amazon user Miss Barbara:

Searching for Grace Kelly is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages but it holds a particular charm for women of my age. Those of us who were in high school and college in the 50’s and dreamed of landing a job in NYC and maybe living at the Barbizon Hotel. We’d share the hallowed halls where Grace Kelly showed her bawdy side and Sylvia Plath lived before she became a fatalist.

Another Amazon reader, S. McGee, takes issue with the title, complaining that there are scant references in the novel to the famous Barbizon resident and that the three protagonists don’t seem to be searching for her in “either a literal or rhetorical sense.”

The hotel was closed in 2005 and transformed into condominium complex Barbizon/63.

[Jacket cover courtesy: Mariner Books]