The early 1900s witnessed New York City as a cultural and commercial capital in the midst of a transformation. The New York Central Railroad, owned by the Vanderbilt family, saw the opportunity and decided to electrify its rail tracks and place them underground, sparking a building boom on the street level in the area just north of Grand Central Terminal. New, sumptuous Park Avenue penthouses, gleaming skyscrapers and the most elegant hotels in the world were being developed. The railroad satisfied the desires of the evolving time, invigorating midtown Manhattan by transforming regional transportation and shaping the city we know today. The Barclay, built in 1926 as part of Grand Central Terminal’s urban design plan, played a pivotal role in Manhattan’s Midtown East renaissance. With a fashionable, yet residential atmosphere, the hotel quickly became popular among the New York Social Register set.