A midtown luxury hotel’s slightly sordid past

The Hotel Manger proclaims itself “the wonder hotel of New York—a modern marble palace” in this late 1920s postcard. And with amenities such as “circulating ice water,” it must have been quite a luxe place to hang your hat.

Hotelmangerpostcard1

It was also a luxe place to commit suicide via jumping from one of its 20 stories.

A 1927 New York Times article chronicles one suicide: “When the woman came to the hotel she was assigned to Room 1239. About 10 o’clock guests on the second floor heard a thud, and the woman’s body was seen on the top of an extension that runs over the main entrance to the hotel.”

It wasn’t just a suicide magnet; The Manger also got in trouble with the feds for reportedly serving alcohol during Prohibition. A raid resulted in the arrest of several bellboys, waiters, and two bootleggers, as well as the padlocking of the building.

Perhaps that’s why the hotel was sold in 1931 and reopened as the Hotel Taft. The Taft catered to a Broadway tourist crowd, fell on hard times in the 1970s, and shut down in 1985. It’s now the Michelangelo.

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3 Responses to “A midtown luxury hotel’s slightly sordid past”

  1. Don Says:

    The postcard image is wrong. Hotel was always only 9 windows deep, and the 4-window wide section is on the right, not the left. See:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=51+street+and+7+avenue,+nyc&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=42.631141,93.076172&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=7th+Ave+%26+W+51st+St,+New+York&ll=40.761764,-73.982808&spn=0.001249,0.00284&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=40.761719,-73.982807&panoid=9vslmCMG-w265Va2FfZ4lg&cbp=12,172.37,,0,-22.5

    and

    http://www.andreas-praefcke.de/carthalia/usa/usa_nyc_roxy.htm

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Good catch!

  3. rawsterdam Says:

    The building looks very much like the Times Square Hotel on 255 w 43rd st. I’ve lived there early 2000s, it became an apartment building for low income housing. Only lived there 2,5 years, but 5 people committed suicide when I lived there. You should write about that hotel.

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