Posts Tagged ‘Welfare hotels in New York City’

Faded ad: The infamous Village Plaza Hotel

February 19, 2010

This almost-gone ad, seen from Sixth Avenue, is like a time capsule from the gritty, druggie Village of the 1960s and 1970s.

Judging by the few accounts of it I could find, the Village Plaza Hotel, at 79 Washington Place, was a squalid mess. Yes, as the ad says, it was air conditioned. But a 1972 New York Times article describes it as a dumping ground for criminally inclined welfare recipients. 

And a Times article from 1967 cites it as the final home of Linda Fitzpatrick, the Greenwich, Connecticut teenager who was one half of the “Groovy Murders”—killed along with her hippie boyfriend, Groovy Hutchinson, on Avenue B that year.

According to the article, Linda Fitzpatrick’s wealthy family had no idea she was living in a filthy SRO hotel:

“The Fitzpatrick’s minds were eased when Linda assured them she had already made respectable living arrangements. ‘She told us that she was going to live at the Village Plaza Hotel, a very nice hotel on Washington Place, near the university, you know,’ her mother said.

“The Village Plaza, 79 Washington Place, has no doorman. A flaking sign by the tiny reception desk announces ‘Television for Rental’ amidst a forest of other signs; ‘No Refunds,’ ‘All, Rents Must be Paid in Advance,’ ‘No Checks Cashed,’ ‘No Outgoing Calls for Transients.'”

Before it was the Hotel Carter . . .

February 1, 2009

Before being crowned’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.


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