While leafing through a 1930s Daily News, I came across this ad for single rooms “for transient young men” at the YMCA’s William Sloane House. Intrigued, I did a little research.
Turns out the 1600-room William Sloane Memorial WMCA, built in 1930 down the street from Penn Station, was a clean, safe, popular place for men to live upon first arriving in New York City. Soldiers frequently checked in; a military uniform acted as a free pass to stay in the 14-story building (not that 75 cents a night was going to break the bank back then).
This mid-century postcard of Sloane House comes with a handy neighborhood map.
By the 1980s, the building was mostly empty; in the early 1990s, only 20 percent of its rooms were occupied, mainly by students and tourists traveling on the cheap. The Y closed it for good in 1991. It is now an apartment building.