Jennifer Lopez is developing a new show Backwards in Heels following the women of the Barbizon Hotel

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Jennifer Lopez is developing a new Amazon Prime video series about Manhattan’s most famous women’s residence in the 1970s.

The 52-year-old Marry Me star’s project, Backwards in Heels, is set to follow “the ambitious and timeless story of glamorous women living at the Barbizon Hotel in New York City after World War II”, according to Deadline.

Oscar nominee Richard LaGravenese has already signed on to write and direct the film while Lopez, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Benny Medina will produce under their Nuyorican Productions with Julie Goldstein.

Coming soon: Jennifer Lopez is developing an Amazon Prime Video series Backwards in Heels about Manhattan’s most famous women’s residence in the 1970s; seen in May 2021

Past celebrity guests and tenants of the property include Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Betty Buckley and many more.

The Barbizon Hotel, located at 140 East 63rd Street on the Upper East Side, was a place young women flocked to while seeking work opportunities in postwar America.

According to Deadline: “No men were allowed above the ground floor, and strict rules of dress and conduct were enforced.”

Familiar faces: Former guests and famous tenants of the property include Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Betty Buckley and many more;  Grace Kelly photographed in 1955

Familiar faces: Former guests and famous tenants of the property include Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Betty Buckley and many more; Grace Kelly photographed in 1955

Wild story: Judy Garland allegedly drove staff crazy by calling every three hours to check on her daughter, Liza Minnelli (pictured in 1972. If she wasn't in her <a class=room, they had orders to find her” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

Wild story: Judy Garland allegedly drove staff crazy by calling every three hours to check on her daughter, Liza Minnelli (pictured in 1972. If she wasn’t in her room, they had orders to find her

Jutting 23 stories into the Manhattan skyline, developers completed construction of the towering, salmon-colored brick Gothic building in 1927. , roof gardens, music rooms, conference rooms, dining room, library and daily maid service.

They hoped to attract the single, stylish Jazz Age women who suddenly flocked to New York to pursue their dreams of fame, independence and a wealthy husband.

The sprawling lobby was decorated with large potted plants, plush oriental rugs, rich furnishings, and warm antique lanterns. Free afternoon tea was served daily which was handy for girls who didn’t come with money.

In good company: American poet Sylvia Plath also lived in the building

In good company: American poet Sylvia Plath also lived in the building

Some guests were even assigned attendants. Judy Garland drove the staff crazy by calling every three hours to check on her daughter, Liza Minnelli. If she was not in her room, they were ordered to find her.

No men were allowed above the lobby floor without strict supervision, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t try. Countless young suitors tried to disguise themselves as doctors, fathers, priests. While others tried their luck by piling up in dumbwaiters. Mrs Sibley called it “the Barbizon’s oldest gag”.

Even male elevator operators were replaced by females by sunset, according to Paulina Bren’s book, The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free.

For admission, the hotel’s assistant manager, Mae Sibley, required all potential tenants to provide three references attesting to her good character. She graded the women on their family, appearance, dress, and demeanor and quietly graded each candidate’s quality as an A, B, or C. The A’s were under the age of twenty-eight. The Bs were between twenty-eight and thirty-eight, and the Cs, well, they were over the hill,” Bren wrote.

An iconic building: The Barbizon Hotel, located at 140 East 63rd Street on the Upper East Side, was a place young women flocked to while seeking work opportunities in post-war America.

An iconic building: The Barbizon Hotel, located at 140 East 63rd Street on the Upper East Side, was a place young women flocked to while seeking work opportunities in post-war America.

The Barbizon’s heyday was all but over by the 1970s. As New York crumbled to the brink of bankruptcy, so did the hotel. The crime rate soared, and even the fortress that long boasted of protecting its inhabitants was not immune.

In 1975, one of the hotel’s oldest residents, Ruth Harding, 79, was found strangled to death in her eleventh-floor room. The crime remains unsolved to this day.

The hotel became co-ed in 1981 and converted to luxury condos in 2007.


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