Day 20 – Roosevelt Hotel
45 East 45th St, New York

Very nice-ish.
This place is another of the old elegant (and big), hotels located mid city. A stone’s throw from Grand Central, I’ve walked past it and never noticed it though it’s vast enough taking the whole block facing Fifth Avenue. Sure enough, it looks pretty nice in these photos, but there’s a slightly faded air about the place. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a long, long way from the ghastly conditions of the Pennsylvania Hotel (see Day #12) but it lacks the polish of the Waldorf Astoria or the Plaza. Perhaps it’s the Starbucks coffee they serve in the lobby delivered to you in Starbucks branded paper cups with a gentle, ‘Cream and sugar are over there. Sir.’

That said, I enjoyed my time at the place, though productivity was rather dormant at first. I found it hard after three weeks away to get back in the swing of things (my last post was in Detroit, you’d recall). I found I couldn’t remember what had been happening. It didn’t help that I accidentally opened a file over a month old and found myself reading something from Act 1 (‘Hang on. I was sure I’d gotten past this!’)
But once I recalled what was going on, Roger and co were soon back into the swing of things and the word count – helped I’m sure by that paper cup be-vesseled Starbucks coffee – ticked over satisfactorily.

The Roosevelt, not surprisingly, is named after one Teddy R. and there are plenty of portraits of the great man about the place, though hidden away in the lesser travelled corners of the hotel. Him with his family. Him on his horse. As a young lad. If you’re a fan of the naturalist/philosopher/statesman/’cowboy’ explorer then this is the place for you.
If Jennifer Lopez is more your bag though, well you won’t be disappointed here either. J. Lo’s seminal flick, where she starred opposite Mr On-Again-Off-Again-Never-Quite-Fulfilled-His-Promise, Ralph Fiennes, that classic ‘Maid in Manhattan’, was set here.

Conrad Hilton bought the place in 1943 and even though he also owned the Plaza and the Waldorf-Astoria made it his home. It was also the first hotel to have leased storefronts on its sidewalks – rather than lounges or restaurants – which is a surprising feature of many big New York hotels. It’s rather odd, IMO, to discover a pharmacy or grocery store next to the entrance of a magnificent hotel.

I must say, it felt great to be back in the incredible buzz of New York. I foresee skyrocketing word counts in the weeks to come.
(I had the meatballs for lunch with an iced tea, in case you were wondering.)

Today’s word count: 2115
Word count to date: 48,467

  • A dead President utilised as security. Not common in my experience.

  • Myself, slightly unnerved by the threat of Teddy ‘watching me’

  • I worked (and dined, of course) in the alcove on the left

  • President Roosevelt and family.

  • Guy Lombardo from the long lost Big Band era

  • The uninspiring exterior and streetscape. It’s pretty much all retail.

  • Roosevelt meatballs and iced-tea