A seedy place to stay in the Village in 1970

If you were a guy who could only swing $2.75 per night in 1970 but really wanted a room of your own in the West Village, then the New Greenwich Hotel may have been your best option.

This ad comes from the December 2, 1970 New York Post. If separate showers are a main selling point, it was probably pretty rundown.

Interestingly, the handsome block-wide building at 160 Bleecker was built as a lodging house for poor gentlemen almost a century earlier, in 1896.

It was Mills House Number One, a clean hostel that encouraged residents to get a steady job. Mills hostels were the brainchild of philanthropist Darius Ogden Mills; three existed in New York City by 1904. 

“By the 1960s it came to be known as the Greenwich, and was a seedy hotel which was generally considered a source of crime and drug activity in the neighborhood,” states the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation report on the South Village.

In 1976 it was converted to luxe apartments and renamed the Atrium.

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13 Responses to “A seedy place to stay in the Village in 1970”

  1. Sean S. Says:

    This was the flophouse where in the 70s a tenant threw a table out the window and flattened a passer-by.

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Man, the place was the pits. Even on the outside you just looked at the people that entered and no way would you go in. Not me, baby. No sirree.

  3. modestine Says:

    I had to do a double-take at the year. 1970? That’s not even ancient history. — Great post, as usual.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    Thank you. It feels ancient; I love how the ad directs you to the IND or the IRT.

  5. judy berdy Says:

    Something is wrong. There were no 7 digit phone numbers in those days and the phone number would have been mu 7-8888, or similiar!!!!

    There was life before Verizon.


  6. Tom B Says:

    This is what I don’t understand about New Yorkers (bohemian village people) complaining about genefrication. Why would you be against the Luxe apartment Atrium and keep the seedy Greenwhich Hotel with its drugs and filth. Sounds like a cop out to justify being unaccountable as a human being living in a society. Start policing yourselves and quit complaining againt people who are working and spending their money.

  7. modestine Says:

    In re: seven-digit telephone numbers. This is purely anecdotal: In the early ’60s when I was a kid, my family’s phone number was RO7-0338 (Rockwell-7). By 1970 when I was in high school, the Rockwell part of our number already was quaint terminology and we routinely used the numerals associated with “R” and “O.”

  8. Barbara Amaya Says:

    What I remember about all those “trick hotels” all over the city was the stiff little towels and tiny bars of soap, sinks in the corner next to the bed…amazing the sheets always seemed clean to me

  9. Bob Says:

    ‘Separate showers’ is a misnomer. The rooms had nothing but a bed and a light – I think there was also a metal storage unit on the wall over the head of the bed.. The showers and toilets were in a communal area on the floor. I don’t remember if it was on every floor or not.The elevator to the floors was the old kind where the operator needed to try to get to the same level as the floor. They used to sell cigarettes for a nickel at the area just inside the entrance where you paid for the room. I stayed there for about a month in the winter of 1969. There was a sticker in a phone booth that said rooms for $2.00 That fit what I had on me when I arrived in New York. There were some temporary help agencies nearby and that’s how I stayed alive that winter – with the exception of the time I ‘appropriated’ a snow shovel after a huge winter storm and shoveled snow off the sidewalks for cash. One city bus had overturned in the snow on the street. It looked like a beached whale.

  10. Lynn Says:

    I remember that hotel it was horrible I was a teenager and wasn’t allowed to walk down BLEECKER ST LIVED 2 BLOCKS FROM THE DANGEROUS HOTEL L

  11. Antonio de la Cova Says:

    I stayed there for one night in the summer of 1969 after hitchhicking from Florida. The rooms were small and dingy, fitting only a bed. A gritty and dusty steel grill covered the window facing the courtyard. The dank hallway had dim light bulbs. The Village Gate nightclub was on the first floor of the Thompson Street corner, where the CVS pharmacy is today. The music from a jazz band drifted up into the hotel and disrupted my sleep pattern.

  12. Two elite addresses on 1830s Bleecker Street | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Row also fell into disrepair; it was bulldozed in 1896 to make way for Mills House No. 1, a home for single men funded by banker and philanthropist Darius Ogden […]

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