Staying at Midtown’s Hotel Bristol in the 1940s

Today, there’s a Chipotle at the Rockefeller Center address the Hotel Bristol once occupied.

The Bristol, as this postcard shows, was one of dozens of smart, modern city hotels catering to the influx of businessmen and tourists in the early 20th century.


The Bristol appears to have been a happening place through the 1940s. That Pink Elephant restaurant must have been the site of many boozy business dinners.


A 1922 ad showcases the Bristol’s endorsement by the YMCA: “A good hotel that Y men can recommend, between Broadway and Fifth Avenue. 400 rooms, 300 baths. Rooms with bath: single $2 to $4. Double $5, $6, and $7.”

I don’t know if there’s any connection to the Bristol Plaza Hotel in the East 60s today—or if it’s a larger version of the six-story Bristol Hotel at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in the late 19th century.

Cool old phone exchange: Circle!

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14 Responses to “Staying at Midtown’s Hotel Bristol in the 1940s”

  1. Ricky Says:

    Why 500 baths when there are 400 rooms?

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Should be 300 baths–hard to read that tiny 1922 type!

  3. swiveltam Says:

    WOW! Cool postcard and story. I love vintage stuff and the 1940s. I was researching resident hotels for women in the 1940s for a sequel to my novel. Fun to come across this. You know even if I find old original hotels, they’ve always been updated and don’t have the charm and simple elegance they once did. I wish I could spend a week back in time.

    ~ Tam Francis ~

  4. PeteNorth Says:

    In the early 80’s LL Cool J wrote a song called “Bristol Hotel” Room 515!

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I remember that. Jamaica, queens!

  6. Jim Says:

    I have an original pamphlet from the hotel dated 1929 in perfect shape anybody interested?

  7. Kenneth Fultz Says:

    I stayed there with my parents in the early 1960’s while in NYC for the World’s Fair. By then, according to my mother, it was not as nice as when my mother stayed there with her parents in the 1930’s or early 1940’s. As I can recall – it was a bit shabby by then.

  8. Trish Murphy Says:

    My father was very picky about everything and this is where our family stayed on NY trips in the late 1940’s. I don’t remember how it was, just the name and location.

  9. Peter Gantzel Says:

    My parents stayed at the Bristol in 1940s, near Times Square Plaza, referring to it as a fleabag. It was a reasonable price, and I remember hearing the zillion taxicab horns below our 10th? floor room. Across the same avenue was an automat restaurant food place at street level.

  10. Anita Mandeville Lopes Says:

    I had two great uncle’s who were the Hotel Managers of this Hotel in the 30’s and 40’s. Raymond and Theodore Mandeville.
    I would love to have been able to see it.

  11. Montreal Meany Says:

    The Bristol was where Brendan Behan stayed most of the time during his stays in New York, until he threw one alcoholic fit too many.

  12. Robarcer Says:

    Cleaning out my guest closet, found wooden clothes hangar from Bristol Hotel!


    My husband’s uncle, Joseph Bath, was also the Hotel Bristol’s resident manager, in the 30’s and 40’s.During Bath’s time there was a shooting murder at the hotel.

  14. Ram Borgaonkar Says:

    I stayed there in June 1961.Located near the Grey Hound bus station. Paid 5 dollars per night.No telephone in the room. Bath down the hall

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