Day 12 – Hotel Pennsylvania

Cnr 7th Ave & 34th Street

Lacking former glory – that’s the only way to describe this vast, underwhelming hotel. When it opened in 1919 it had 2200 rooms and sat overlooking the now-demolished Penn Station (the original one). Now Madison Square Garden (surely one of the ugliest buildings in Manhattan) faces it and the area is filled with cheap burger joints and half-finished construction.

It has survived numerous attempts to demolish it, and the current owners have declared they’ll restore it. I can only hope so, because in its current iteration, it’s depressing.
William Faulkner stayed here. Charlie Chaplin too. And like many New York hotels of this era, its ballroom was filled with the Big Bands of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and more. But those days are long gone.

As the lobby resembles an airport lounge with people sitting on their luggage, I chose to work in the cafe. With a $10 buffet breakfast, it proved a productive morning.

Word count: 2643

Word count to date: 33,165

  • Directly opposite Madison Square Garden

  • Like an airport without class

  • Author and WIP in the very quiet lounge

  • Remember these?

  • The hotel is a wonderful example of art deco – but not as wonderful as this

  • Statler who built the Pennsylvania