A sidewalk relic of the Hotel Carter’s better days

The Hotel Carter has been closed for months now—for good or because of a renovation, I’m not sure.

The infamous West 43rd Street hostelry, named the dirtiest hotel in America several times by TripAdvisor and the site of numerous suicides and a few horrific murders during its 90-year history (including this one in 2007), is currently hidden from view by scaffolding.

Sticking out on the sidewalk, however, is a Hotel Carter icon I’d never noticed before: this sidewalk sign—with the Carter name spelled out in script, a signifier that this is a hotel of class and taste.

Of course, the Hotel Carter was neither of these, at least in its later incarnation. Opened in 1930 as the Hotel Dixie (complete with its own basement bus station, see the sign for it at the far right in the photo below), the place was designed for business travelers who needed to be in the Times Square area.

The owners went bankrupt not long after that; the hotel changed hands over the years. The bus depot closed in 1957, unable to compete with the new Port Authority Bus Station around the corner on Eighth Avenue.

Rechristened the Hotel Carter in 1976, the hotel became largely a welfare hotel in the 1980s, though by 1984 it was so dangerous and decrepit, the city stopped sending people there, according to a 1989 Daily News article.

The Carter began attracting travelers again in the 1990s and 2000s, many of whom left illustrious scathing reviews (and photos of their bedbug-bitten skin).

Whatever becomes of the Carter, the wonderful vertical Hotel Carter sign is currently visible through the scaffolding.

Walk by and look up at it…and then down at the logo embedded in the sidewalk. If the Carter has a date with the wrecking ball soon, at least the sidewalk sign might stick around.

[Top image: Wikipedia; fourth image: New York City Department of Records and Information Services]

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6 Responses to “A sidewalk relic of the Hotel Carter’s better days”

  1. Anthony Bellov Says:

    As the Hotel Dixie it was the home of the legendary Le Jardin disco – in the basement and, via express elevator, on the rooftop. What existed between stops was a total mystery to us. Spent many a fabulous night being fabulous in that fabulous place.

  2. James Sheraton Says:

    Stayed at the “Fabulous Hotel Carter” with my wife in 1987. We noticed a small mouse scampering across our room. We informed the woman desk clerk and her reply was “It’s becoming winter and cold outside and the mice and other vermin are coming in.” She did give us a mouse trap though, lol. Later one evening my wife encountered a woman (possibly a lady of the night, ha) while my wife was ascending in the elevator to return to our room. The woman in the elevator said she was en route to a romantic encounter with one of the clients of the Carter. Her remark was “I’m going up to the seventh floor and doing this guy and getting the hell out of here. This place is a dump.” LOL, Yes thanks for this post and the memories.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I know someone who stayed there around the same time you did. On the first night, a rat ran across his room. He called the front desk to request a room change, and the person who answered the phone said rats would be in that room too.

  3. ironrailsironweights Says:

    If you looked into the lower parking level from 43rd you were able to see the turntable on the floor that made it easier for buses to change direction in the area’s tight confines. I don’t know if it’s still visible.

    Peter

  4. countrypaul Says:

    I freelanced at recording studios in the area several years back, and the Carter garage was always the cheapest in the area. That garage was a tight space, and I thought the turntable was for limousines, not buses, although that makes perfect sense. The garage was just fine, but I confess to never having been inside the hotel itself. Guess I wasn’t missing much except for the sign in the sidewalk.

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