Showing posts sorted by relevance for query elk hotel. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query elk hotel. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Elk in the City

OK, I have to admit I had no idea that there was an Elk Street in Manhattan. Stumbled upon it yesterday. Not much of a street. It starts at Chambers and quickly ends here:

But there's interesting history to it. According to Archaeology magazine, Elk Street's history goes back to 1867, when "a group of New York actors formed a drinking club called the Jolly Corks and held their first meeting at a boarding house on this street, which was then known as Elm Street. By the early twentieth century, the club evolved into a fraternal and philanthropic society, renamed the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, now with hundreds of chapters across the United States. The street's name was changed to honor the first Elk lodge in 1939."

[Image via Time Out New York]

Seeing this street name reminded me of a nearly extinct part of the city -- the Elk Hotel, which is, well. Here's how Steven Kurutz described it in a June 13, 2004, article in the Times:

A shabby little building at Ninth Avenue and 42nd Street, just down from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Elk is the kind of hotel whose reputation precedes it. It offers rooms by the hour to couples who aren't very well acquainted, and doesn't change the sheets a whole lot. Put simply, the Elk is a flophouse.

There's more, and it's a thing of beauty:

There are 50 guestrooms at the Elk, and they are remarkable less for what they contain than for what they do not. There's usually no TV, no phone and, beyond a nightstand and a bed, no furniture. There's also no air-conditioning, making the summers brutal. The bathrooms, two per floor, are communal, which tends to scare off most American tourists.
Once, Times Square boasted a dozen hotels like the Elk. There was the Evans on West 38th Street and the Woodstock on 43rd, once a favorite of winos and methadone addicts. But in the neighborhood's revitalization, the flophouses were mostly remodeled or demolished.
The Elk's miraculous -- some would say unfortunate -- survival stems from a real estate fluke (the building's owner doesn't want to sell) and from the tenacity of its proprietor, who would identify himself only as Dinesh. Sitting on a stool in the hotel's small glassed-in office, he emitted the weary impatience of a man who for the past 17 years has daily beaten back the devil from his door. It took great effort, he said, to rid the hotel of its drug dealer residents, and he continually defends the place against their return, denying a room to anybody he finds suspect.

[Photo via Lost City]

I haven't been in that neighborhood for a few months. So I thought I'd give the hotel a call. Just to make sure they were still open. I never thought about what I was going to say when/if someone answered the phone. Anyway, this is exactly how the conversation went:

Elk: Hello?

Me: Uh, is this the Elk?

Elk: Yes.

Me: Are you open?

Elk: Yes.

Me: Do you rent rooms by the month?

Elk: No. Only by the day.

Me: So I 'd have to pay you each day for a month?

Elk: No. You can only stay here for three or four days at a time, then we'll ask you to check out.

Me: I see. Thank you.

Meanwhile, not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the Elk.

These reviews were gleaned from Yahoo! Travel. (Still, four of the eight reviews were positive.)

For further reading:
Old 42nd Street Ain't Gone Yet (Lost City)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Checking out the Vigilant Hotel: "Perfect for the bored with responsibilities of maintaining a traceable address"

I've long been fascinated by the Vigilant Hotel at 370 Eighth Ave. between 28th Street and 29th Street. An old-fashioned flophouse continues to survive in this era of pricey real estate and swanky hotel developments? Miracle of miracles! 14to42 had this information from a 2003 post:

In 1895 the lodgings empire of Angelino Sartirano consisted of hotels at 116 Gansevoort St., 208 and 352 8th Ave., 1553 Broadway, 2291 3d Ave., and here at 370 8th Ave.

The Sartirano (sometimes spelled Sartirana) hotel business is even older, going back to 1888 with his first hotel at 116 Gansevoort St. in the West Village.

The name Vigilant Hotel, however, is not quite so old, and seems to date no earlier than 1916. The hotel is still here (as of August 2003) but to all appearances no longer operates as a hotel in the usual sense...

14to42 also also has links to two photos by Percy Loomis Sperr in the New York Public Library's Digital Collections. The first dated 1932 shows a side wall with "Rooms 25¢." The second dated 1938 shows a small sign over the sidewalk reading "Vigilant Hotel."

14th42 also published this shot from 2003 of the hotel's faded sign:

So, can I get a room here? Sure! It's for men only. And it will cost you $140. A week.

The reviews are mixed on Yahoo! Travel. Someone who has never stayed there gave it five stars while someone who did gave it one star. What was so wrong with it that it deserved that?

Don't ever step foot in this place
By A Yahoo! Contributor, 10/08/08
The place is so downtrodden, neglected and downright decreped. The hotel guests are homeless people who arementally ill. Even the police wouldn't stay in this hotel! If I were homeless I wouldn't stay in this disgusting hotel. Im shocked they are still open!

OK, Felix Ungar...we'll getcha a suite at The Carlyle!

Anyway, here's what the place looks like on the inside:

(These three photos via here.)

Finally, here's review of the hotel at Not for Tourists by Dave Crish:

A scar, even upon the pissed on pave of Chelsea's north edge. I relate, here, of history's Vigilant. Built some hundred years ago of resilient brick, at present resembling ash. Not the sort of amenitied lodge one peruses on vacation. Piped of, but, three befouled showers, a pair of sinks, and toilettes of excreta. Succinctly, an inn of cells petit rented to gents of varied feather—all poor for whatever reason, breathing the airs of next step below homelessness. $125 per seven days. No credit, no checks, no euros, cartons maybe—of Marlboros. Never gleeful, rarely tended proud asylum sans musique. Fine abode for a bit of drifting or a brief disappearance. In sum, perfect for the bored with responsibilities of maintaining a traceable address. Foam pad, gray, oft cavorted 'pon by bloodsucking mites. Not a lash of social space but narrow hallways. Sphere of little social grace a tincture schizo of few heads cracked—a few murderers, few blooming, and even fewer handsome. Maybe a master once and then. Never a fellow un-weathered. Indeed, the Vigilant Hotel. For the times when desires discordant means and the bench not an option.

Related on EV Grieve:
Elk in the City

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sure, the Hotel Carter may be the dirtiest hotel in America, but it sure is photogenic!

Been meaning to pay a visit to the Hotel Carter on West 43rd Street in Times Square. Yesterday, Gothamist had the roundup on the Carter being named the filthiest hotel in America by the voters at TripAdvisor. Woo-hoo! You're No. 1! So what seems to be the problem(s)? Ah, the usual. Rats. Mold. Dust. Dangerous electrical outlets. Dead bodies. That kind of thing!

So why do I want to pay the Carter a visit? The photo opportunities! Just look at some of the shots I found by typing in "Hotel Carter" on Flickr...(And check out Ken Mac's post on the Carter at Greenwich Village Daily Photo.)

(Photo by fantaz)

(Photo by Bob Jagendorf)

(Photo by 24gotham)

(Photo by Strange Red)

(Photo by Jeffrey Docherty)

Anyway, how bad could it be?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Checking out the Vigilant Hotel: "Perfect for the bored with responsibilities of maintaining a traceable address"

Elk in the City

At the Hotel Edison: An appreciation

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Looking at the New York Inn; so bad, Trip Advisor reviewers use five exclamation points for emphasis!!!!!

I've been curious about the New York Inn (there on the left) on Eighth Avenue between 46th Street and 47th Street. A few weeks back, the NYI was named the third dirtiest hotel in America by the voters at Trip Advisor. Is that good for the Bronze Medal? (And the Hotel Carter on West 43rd Street was tops...)

Anyway, haven't had a chance to get up there yet...However, Scouting New York was there and took a few nice shots, particularly of the faded ad on the side of the NYI.

In the meantime, like Scouting NY did, check out a few reviews of the NYI via Trip Advisor...where out of 116 user reviews, they received 93 one-star reviews!

Previously on EV Grieve:
Checking out the Vigilant Hotel: "Perfect for the bored with responsibilities of maintaining a traceable address"

Elk in the City

At the Hotel Edison: An appreciation

Monday, February 9, 2009

EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning edition

Bob Arihood has a not-so-good update on Ray of Ray's Candy Store as well as a report on some Avenue A thuggery (Neither More Nor Less)

The return of DJ Lenny M (Down by the Hipster)

Inside the Pee Pee Phone (Slum Goddess)

An update on the Aqueduct's racino plans (Queens Crap)

Horse-drawn carriages may be replaced by eco-friendly vintage cars (Gothamist)

The Elk Hotel loses some business (Jeremiah's Vanishing NY)

Rite Aid and Sbarro are among the companies who may not last through the recession (Yahoo! News)

Smell like the Astor Place cube (Esquared, who has a new home)

What retailers say about the recession (New York)

Ruffians who sing Sham 69 songs in the middle of the night (Flaming Pablum)

More fun at the Ludlow Residence (BoweryBoogie)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

EV Grieve Etc: Mourning Edition

A video tour of Anthony Pisano's Seventh Street apartment (Gothamist)

City may eliminate half the pre-K classes at two East Village schools (DNAinfo)

Andy Warhol's New York — 25 years later (The Village Voice)

Inside the last Times Square flophouse — the Elk Hotel (Jeremiah's Vanishing New York)

A new record from Joey Ramone 11 years after his death (Rolling Stone)

Why underage drinking in New York is on the rise (The Daily News)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition

[East Houston Street via Michael Sean Edwards]

At the memorial for LES Jewels (More than Usual ... The Villager)

Bubbles and a model in Tompkins Square Park (Gog in NYC)

[Video] Crime in Union Square circa 1982 (Jeremiah's Vanishing New York)

Plywood arrives outside future home of fucked-up looking condo on Norfolk (The Lo-Down)

A barren SPURA in 1979 (BoweryBoogie)

Keynoter speakers announced for the CBGB Music & Film Festival (News release via MarketWired)

The former Elk Hotel space seeking millions in potential rent (The Real Deal ... previously)

Progress on the 2nd Avenue Subway (Gothamist)

Creating some new bike lanes on Sixth Avenue (The New York Times)

... and a video via the group Right of Way...