The 2019 Novel Coronavirus has hurt the entire travel industry for over a year now, and countless travel agencies, tour operators, restaurants and airlines have closed their doors due to lack of business. For many, the closure is (or at least hopefully is) just a pause, with plans to reopen when things are better. But for some, their closing was a solid “goodbye forever.”
The names of some travel and travel-related entities that have closed for good are well known. TUI travel service in the U.K. (which then reopened, but under a new owner who merely bought the name). The Cheers replica bar in Boston. The Standard in Los Angeles. And, of course, thousands of restaurants. Business Insider says that roughly 17% of U.S. restaurants have closed permanently since the start of the pandemic.
In 2018, New York City saw about 65.2 million tourists, who spent about $44 billion during their visits. Although tourism isn’t the only way New York makes money (as an idea, according to Center for an Urban Future, before COVID, tourists were responsible for about 24% of all credit card sales at NYC restaurants and drinking places), it’s a big moneymaker for thousands of entities in the Big Apple.
In 2019, there were roughly 123,000 hotel rooms in New York City. Since COVID, about 200 of the city’s 700 hotels have closed their doors. Most, at this point, consider themselves to be “on pause,” and hope to reopen sometime in the future. However, these hotel properties in Manhattan announced in 2020 that they would (and subsequently have) close(d) permanently:
|AKA Tribeca||85 W. Broadway||100|
|AKA United Nations||234 E. 46th St.||95|
|AKA Wall Street||84 William St.||132|
|Best Western Bowery Hanbee||231 Grand St.||102|
|Comfort Inn Manhattan Bridge||63 Chrystie St.||60|
|Courtyard New York Manhattan/Herald Square||8 Herald Square||167|
|Excelsior Hotel||45 W. 81st. St.||116|
|Hilton Times Square||234 W. 42nd St.||460|
|Hudson Hotel||356 W. 58th St.||876|
|Marmara Manhattan||301 E. 94th St.||109|
|Maxwell Hotel||541 Lexington Ave.||698|
|New York Marriott East Side||525 Lexington Ave.||636|
|Novotel Times Square||226 W. 52nd St.||480|
|Omni Berkshire Place||21 E. 52nd. St.||399|
|Roosevelt Hotel||45 E. 45th St.||1,015|
|Salisbury Hotel||123 W. 57th St.||196|
|The Blakely||136 W. 55th St.||118|
|W Hotel||8 Albany St.||217|
All told, that’s a total of 18 hotels, with 5,976 rooms. It figures out to be 3.5% of all hotels in NYC and 5.8% of all hotel rooms.
Of the 18:
- 5 (Excelsior, Roosevelt, Hudson, Marmara & Salisbury) were independent
- 4 (the three AKAs & The W) were luxury
- 4 (Hilton, Maxwell, NY Marriott & Omni Berkshire Place) were upper-upscale
- 1 (Courtyard) was upscale
- 2 (Blakely & Comfort Inn) were upper-midscale
- 2 (Novotel & Best Western) were midscale
Notes Of Interest:
- Originally called Hotel Standish Hall when it originally opened in 1922, the Excelsior Hotel (named as such in the 1950s) had been doubling as a homeless shelter since 2016
- The Hudson Hotel was originally constructed as the American Woman’s Association clubhouse by Anne Morgan (daughter of J. P. Morgan) in 1929. It had quite the history.
- The Maxwell was Manhattan’s original W hotel. Built in 1930, it became the Maxwell in 2018 when it was sold, after being labeled a “particularly poor performer.” It was also one of the first hotels in NYC to close due to the pandemic, back in the spring of 2020.
- The Blakely original opened as the Gorham Hotel in 1929. It was already in financial trouble in very early 2020, after its employees unionized.
- The Roosevelt Hotel, named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, opened on September 22, 1924. Its history is fascinating, and its closure was classy.
- The Salisbury Hotel was originally built in the 1930s. As per Oyster.com, it was owned by the Calvary Baptist Church next door and was “tired by clean.”
- Omni Berkshire Place was where many guest stars of Saturday Night Live used to stay, waaaaaaay back when (this video is from 1987. I remember seeing them as advertisers back in the late 70s).
Frankly, when I read that only 18 hotels had closed permanently, I was kind of relieved – I really thought, a year in, that it would be a significantly higher amount. However, the closure of any hotel is sad, if for no other reason than the loss of jobs. Granted, more than one admittedly appeared to be not doing very well even before COVID hit, so the closure of at least some of them was probably not super surprising.
As a fan of architecture and history, I always feel particularly sad when old hotels close their doors. For those classic buildings built in the 1920s and 1930s, I hope they’re eventually sold and can continue to be used for lodging. I would love to see them reimagined into some semblance of their former glories, rather than razed and turned into parking garages or modern office buildings.
Feature Photo: The Roosevelt Hotel
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary