I recently saw a blog post from Gothamist detailing the demise of the famous Hotel Pennsylvania. For those of you either new to New York City or not from New York City, the Hotel Pennsylvania is one of the most extravagant hotels in a city known for extravagant hotels.
My brother, father, uncle, and both grandfathers found steady employment within Manhattan's hospitality industry, and although none of them were ever lucky enough to work at the Hotel Pennsylvania, I grew up hearing how grand and high-class this famous hotel was.
The Hotel Pennsylvania's glamorous history, however, has become just that as law suits from guests being bitten by bed bugs have forged a new reputation for the 88-year old hotel. Check out this lead (of what should've been the lead!) from the New York Observer:
ONCE A GLAMOROUS DESTINATION where jazz standouts Count Basie and Duke Ellington performed in the grand ballroom—a place immortalized (along with its phone number) by the Glenn Miller tune “Pennsylvania 6-5000”—the 1,700-room hotel has since devolved into a cheap, decrepit tourist trap more commonly associated with reported bedbug attacks than big-band nostalgia.The company who owns the Hotel Pennsylvania is preparing to tear down the historic hotel and replace it with a skyscraper. Obviously the pending law suits and the hotel's tarnished reputation have proved to be too much to merit the continued existence of the hotel. Some preservationists are trying to make the City declare the hotel a landmark, which would outlaw its demolition, but I think this movement is too little, too late.
I stated back in April 2006 and to two reporters who interviewed me that this bed bug problem, and the city's unwillingness to adequately address the epidemic would ultimately affect the hospitality and real estate industries, which are huge in New York City. The City Council has chosen to do nothing aside from token gestures about this problem and now this city is losing one of its most historic venues.