Old New York in Postcards #2 – Old Hotels Of New York City

A Longer Tour Around Old New York

Today we will look at the old hotels of New York.  In some cases these buildings still stand. For others the names have changed. Some have been converted to apartments or other uses. And some are just a memory.  Working our way from south to north let’s look at a dozen of the lesser known of New York’s hostelry’s.

Hotel Marlton just off of 5th avenue circa 1920. The center of Greenwich Village and now a street of endless cut price shoe stores, 8th Street was once a fashionable residential neighborhood. Many famous literary and artistic figures resided at the Hotel Marlton at one time. Starting in 1987 the Marlton was leased as a residence for students of The New School of Social Research. It is now closed as a hotel and a dormitory, and its future is undecided.  Notice on the side of the hotel there is an advertisement for the hotel proclaiming it “absolutely fireproof.” There was a  good reason for touting this feature. On St. Patrick’s Day in 1899 the Windsor Hotel on Fifth Avenue between 46th and 47th street caught fire killing about 90 people. Another one of New York’s forgotten disasters. Click here to see dramatic pictures of the fire and its aftermath.

UPDATE 2014 – The Marlton has re-opened as an upscale 107 room boutique hotel.

The Carteret Hotel 208 West 23rd Street circa 1930. The Carteret was converted to rental  apartments in the 1960’s by real estate mogul Nathan Brodsky.  A two bedroom apartment there now rents for between $3,000 and $4,000 a month.

Hotel York 488 7th Avenue at 36th Street circa 1915. In this card The York shows its convenience to the newly completed McKim Mead & White masterpiece the original Pennsylvania Station. The hotel which was built in 1902-1903 by architect Harry B. Mulliken is also now an apartment building.

Hotel Hermitage 42nd Street and 7th Avenue, 1936. A double bed room for $3.50! Only $2.50 per night if you shared a bathroom. Located next door to the Stanley Theatre which was showing a Katharine Hepburn film, A Woman Rebels. The Hotel Hermitage was located right in the heart of Times Square. It was renamed the National Hotel and demolished in the early 90’s as part of urban renewal or the Disneyfication of Times Square.

Hotel Felix Portland at 132-134 West 47th Street near Broadway circa 1925. The Felix Portland is still in operation and was recently renovated and goes under the name of the Portland Hotel or Hotel Sanctuary.

Hotel Flanders 135 W. 47th through to 136 W. 48th Street circa 1915. The hotel was sold in 1947 and eventually demolished.

Hotel Sutton 330 East 56th Street circa 1950. The hotel is now the AKA Sutton Place, a luxurious hotel offering extended stays in this very residential area of Manhattan.

Hotel Regent 70th Street & Broadway circa 1904. In 1909 the apartment hotel was acquired and combined by the neighboring smaller seven story Sherman Square Hotel for $900,000.  The combined Sherman Square Hotel became seedier and seedier and stayed in business until 1968 when a fire drove out the remaining tenants.  This once elegant hotel was demolished in 1969 for what was termed “urban renewal” for the declining upper west side of the 1960’s.  (Not to be confused with the Regent Hotel at 2720-24 Broadway currently a transient shelter for homeless families.)

Hotel Hargrave 112 West 72nd Street just off Columbus Avenue circa 1930. The hotel was built in 1907 and was converted to condominiums in 1989.

Hotel Standish Hall 45 West 81st Street circa 1930. Built in 1922 right across the street from the American Museum of Natural History, the hotel was renamed the Excelsior Hotel in the 1950’s.  It is still doing a brisk business.

Hotel Clendening 202 West 103rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue  circa 1920. The hotel was named after John Clendening, whose large estate ran from about 99th street to 104th street from 8th Avenue to the Bloomingdale Road (now Broadway.)  An 1845 real estate auction of the lots that comprised the estate brought some very low prices (even for 1845.)  Frontage lots on the current Central Park West between 99th and 100th street sold for $26 apiece! The Hotel Clendening was demolished in 1965.

Hotel Alexandria 250 West 103rd Street off Broadway circa 1925.  The Alexandria is now a cooperative apartment building.

22 thoughts on “Old New York in Postcards #2 – Old Hotels Of New York City

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  2. Yvonne

    Hello: this is such an interesting collection you have put together. Where are the images from? I’d love to see more!

  3. Richard A Sculley

    As a kid I stayed at the Flanders Hotel on W.47th St . In 1963 it was $2.50/night. Times Square was a rowdy place with notable adult entertainment at the Metropole Cafe. Are there any pictures of these places?

  4. Esther Shaya

    Hi, can I use one of the pictures of your postcards for a book that will be published in the Netherlands in Dutch?

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  6. Gisele

    When our ship landed in NYC in June of 1963, our immigration sponsor had set us up in the Madison Square Hotel on Madison near 26th St, right on Madison Square Park. We lived there for two weeks, to look around the city, buy a car, and head out West as planned. Three and a quarter years later, we returned to the city, and headed for the same residential hotel, and lived there for a year and a half, this time. It was a great location! I went to Washington Irving HS near Union Square, worked at the Woolworth on East 23rd St, and enjoyed spending time on the roof, looking down over the park or reading, and playing my transistor radio. The hotel was long past its glamour period, but most of NYC wasn’t all that hot! I have just purchased a postcard of the same Madison Square Hotel, which has been torn down together with the Jerome Mansion next to it (Jenny Jerome became the mother of Winston Churchill) to make way for a dreary uninspired black box. I would be glad to send you the image, if you want to expand your list to twenty-one! 🙂

    1. buddy

      hi giselle,

      would love to see the image of the madison square hotel. my dad’s family lived there for a couple of years in the early 1950’s before moving to yonkers. cheers

  7. Barbara

    I lived for several months at the Alexandria in 1969. It was a run down flea bag residential hotel back then. I can remember a young latina woman who lived there with her kids. She turned tricks in her apt and she would give the desk clerk a couple of $$ to look the other way when the johns came to see her. The desk clerk was a heroin addict who lived up on the 4th floor. I can remember just around the corner on Broadway there was a young black woman named Anita. She told me that she had modeled at one time but had began turning tricks to support her sons and her heroin habit. It was a rough part of the city back then, but not terribly dangerous. I now see on line that an efficiency apt at the “Alexandria House” leases for $2300 per month.
    If those walls could talk!

  8. Susan

    I’m enjoying your page. I am looking for an image of the Hotel Thorndyke which was on 56th and 7th. My grandmother worked in it as a chamber maid when she first arrived in the U.S. from Ireland in the period between 1928-1935. I would appreciate if you found anything to reply back. Thanks.

  9. alwaysright

    I am another who really really cares a lot about this “stuff”. I only wish it would have remained the same but that wish went out the window forever a while back now.
    All I have is what is posted here and I’m so grateful for that. (but sometimes so sad too.)

  10. Jean

    I grew up on the upper west side in the 50s through the 70s. I still live in NYC.
    I wonder if you’d ever come across a post card of the Hotel Nevada, in the 60 or 70s on
    Broadway? My earliest memory of a lovely old establishment, it was torn down around that time. It was located on the west side of Broadway, where the Steak and Ale restaurant was. ( or similar named restaurant ).
    Thank you.

  11. isaac edwards

    It brought back a load of memories for me. I remember staying at the Marlton while attending NYU and waiting for renovations to be completed on my town house. They were wonderful years and lost track of all the gals I banged. lol

  12. Charles Asplund Sr.

    My Wife and I stayed at the National Hotel overnight on Jan. 8th, 1972 on our way to our Honeymoon at Cove Haven resort in Pa. In later years we wanted to spend our 25th anniversary at the National on our way to Cove Haven and re-trace our Honeymoon, but We found out the National had been torn town. We had to stay at another Hotel, but it was not the same, but at least Cove Haven was still available, and our original cottage was still available for us to stay in. I was wondering if anyone ever took any decent pictures of the National Hotel before it was demolished. We were on an upper floor, I remember our room had a window where We could see a Nathans Hot Dog stand. It’s sad when Memories are taken away by renovation, destruction and renewal. The National was not a Luxury Hotel, but it was part of the beginnings of Our New life together. C & C, Waterbury, CT. USA.

  13. Barbara

    Hi. I came across this site while researching hotels that were demolished in the mid 60’s. My father & his friend were in New York around that time and they came across a hotel that was being demolished. There was a gold lion tossed in the rubble so they took it home. I think it’s concrete – it’s extremely heavy. I loved it so much that when I joined the military Dad gave it to me. I’ve had this lion for over 30 years and has stood outside the doorway of every place I lived…he even took a tour to Italy with me! Dad has long since passed away and Mom can’t remember the hotel it came from.

    Would you have any idea which hotels might have used this decoration?

    1. B.P. Post author

      Hi Barbara – That is a very nice story you have shared. I see things all the time I’d like to salvage from demolished buildings, but have no room to keep anything large so I restrain myself. To answer your question – off the top of my head I don’t know. I looked up what hotels were demolished from 1960-1964 and there were quite a few. I have not begun to look at 1965-1970 because there were many more that were taken down for “urban renewal.”

      A few things might help:
      Was this in the early 1960’s or late 1960’s? Could it have possibly been in the late 50’s or early 70’s?
      Any idea what neighborhood?
      Was it a large hotel?
      Any other clues your mother could tell you?
      What is the approximate size of the lion? Can you describe the piece further? Do you think it is an architectural ornament that was possibly attached to the outside of the building or an interior piece? Is there any writing or marks on it?
      A photograph would help.
      There is a slim chance a reader might recognize it if you sent us a photograph.
      It’s a good mystery but it is probably like looking for a needle in a haystack.
      If you can provide any further information we can provide a list of the demolished hotels that might be a match.

  14. Chris

    I care too! I used to live in the Hotel Flanders when I was a kid, (ca., 1962). Not nearly as luxurious as the postcard shows. It was actually a bit of a dump! One interesting fact is that the original “Odd Couple” movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau shot a scene in the hotel. It’s where Felix is trying to commit suicide by jumping out of the hotel window, but he can’t get the window to open!

    Just as a sidebar, I also went to Catholic School at Holy Cross on 42nd Street between 9th & 10th Avenue.

    1. Bob Andrews

      My brother worked for the Television Rental Co., located on the first floor of the Hotel Flanders, from 1961 to 1965 and I worked there from 1965 to 1968 while we we in college. Television Rental relocated in 1968 when the Hotel closed and was scheduled for demolition. I remember it well.

  15. judith prescott

    This may be “stuff nobody cares about,” but I do. It’s part of the glamorous past of New York–its fascinating history. I’d love to see more (& read more information about these places). I lived in the Sutton East in the early 1970’s. It was a dump–mostly a residential hotel. I stayed there a year; then heard there had been a murder there–the man at the front desk killed.
    How about the old New York restaurants? I’d love to see photos and read about them.
    Thanks so much for this.

    1. B.P. Post author

      Judith – Thanks for your thoughtful comments and personal recollections. We’ll be covering the old restaurants of New York soon and continuing the postcard views.

    2. Dawn McDermott

      Hi Judith, While researching some lovely fine china bowls I purchased, I came across your wonderful site. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I believe the bowls I purchased came from a very old circa 1920-1930’s hotel and/or restaurant in New York. Back of bowls are marked with early Royal Doulton maker’s mark ~ Gilman Collamore & co. ~ 5th Ave. & 30th Street ~ The front of bowl has elaborate monogram initials of ~ HFM. You can view bowl in my ebay store. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!

      Dawn, ECA


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