The secret tragedies of a defunct midtown hotel

Ever hear of the Hotel Chesterfield? Probably not; it was a massive, unspectacular midcentury tourist and show folk favorite at 130 West 49th Street.

Built in the 1920s, it outlived its heyday and was demolished after the early 1960s. A sparkling office tower occupies its old location.

What major and minor tragedies occurred in each of the Chesterfield’s 900 rooms over the decades? A quick search through newspaper archives offers a glimpse.

First, a deadly fall out a window. In 1929, a young actress was sitting on her seventh floor window sill, waiting for her husband to come home so she could tell him about a job she’d landed.

When he arrived, she jumped up, only to lose her balance and plunge to an awning below.

A couple of French opera singers had their room robbed in 1947. While out at the theater one night, they returned to find the place ransacked. Items missing included a silver fox cape, jewelry, a portable radio, and two bottles of anti-seasickness pills.

And of course, suicide. In 1933 a 68-year-old retired salesman from Scranton shot and killed himself in his 10th-floor room. He had come to  New York, a brief article says, to visit his son.

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2 Responses to “The secret tragedies of a defunct midtown hotel”

  1. morgan Says:

    http://fultonhistory.com/newspaper%208/Niagara%20Falls%20NY%20Gazette/Niagara%20Falls%20NY%20Gazette%201955%20July-Aug%20Grayscale/Niagara%20Falls%20NY%20Gazette%201955%20July-Aug%20Grayscale%20-%200355.pdf

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    So brutal and tragic, thanks for sending.

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