Historic Roosevelt Hotel to Close; Collapse in Tourism Hits NYC Hard

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Looking up at the historic Roosevelt Hotel (creative commons-Wikipedia)

By: Jared Evan

After 96 years in business the iconic Roosevelt Hotel on East 45th Street is closing its doors because of the decimation of the tourism industry in NYC, thanks to the strident COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Roosevelt Hotel, opened on September 23, 1924, was built by Niagara Falls businessman Frank A. Dudley and operated by the United Hotels Company. The hotel was designed by the firm of George B. Post & Son and leased from The New York State Realty and Terminal Company, a division of the New York Central Railroad. The hotel, built at a cost of $12,000,000 (equivalent to $179,021,000 in 2019), was the first to incorporate store fronts instead of bars in its sidewalk facades, as the latter had been prohibited due to Prohibition. The Roosevelt Hotel was at one time linked with Grand Central Terminal via an underground passage that connected the hotel to the train terminal. The Roosevelt housed the first guest pet facility and childcare services, The NY Times chronicled.

At this point, more than 200 of New York’s roughly 700 hotels are closed, at least temporarily, Bloomberg reported.

“Next year is going to be far worse than any year we’ve ever had except this one,” Lukas Hartwich, an analyst at real estate research firm Green Street, told Bloomberg

“It’s going to be 2022 before we get back to where we were during the worst part of the last recession.”

“Due to the current, unprecedented environment and the continued uncertain impact from COVID-19, the owners of the Roosevelt Hotel have made the difficult decision to close the hotel and the associates were notified this week,” a spokesperson told CNN in a statement. “The iconic hotel, along with most of New York City, has experienced exceptionally low demand and as a result the hotel will cease operations before the end of the year. There are currently no plans for the building beyond the scheduled closing.”

“The true hotel occupancy is less than 10%,” said Vijay Dandapani, chief executive officer of the Hotel Association of New York City to Bloomberg.

“Hotels have theoretically been able to be open, but in many cases it’s pointless.”

The New Year’s Eve tradition of singing “Auld Lang Syne,” was also born at the Roosevelt, where Guy Lombardo and his orchestra were first broadcast singing it, NY Post pointed out

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