Posts Tagged ‘Hotel Dixie’

A sidewalk relic of the Hotel Carter’s better days

September 21, 2020

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]

Before it was the Hotel Carter . . .

February 1, 2009

Before being crowned Tripadvisor.com’s dirtiest hotel in America, before a corpse was found stuffed under a bed, before the wonderfully nonsensical sign “You Wanted in Times Square and Less” went up in the lobby, the seedy, one-star Hotel Carter was the Hotel Dixie.

And it must not have been too bad, since someone deemed it worthy of a postcard.

hoteldixiepostcard

Whatever the name, the hotel has a slightly tawdry history. It opened in 1930, and almost immediately, the owners went bankrupt. It had its own bus terminal, which went out of business in the 1950s because it couldn’t compete with the Port Authority. 

Several decades and suicides later, in the 1980s, the city used it as a homeless shelter. By the late 80s, the homeless were mostly out—and unsuspecting tourists and visitors with very little cash became the main clientele.

EV Grieve has rounded up some cool Hotel Carter signs